Excellent displays aplenty as Emerging Ireland easily beat Griquas

Eight tries for Simon Easterby’s men got their three-match tour to South Africa off to a winning start

Griquas 7 Emerging Ireland 54

Eight tries, some excellent individual displays and a very effective lineout maul offer a select overview as Simon Easterby’s Emerging Ireland side got their three-match tour to South Africa off to a promising start.

The Griquas huffed and puffed but were limited by their own inaccuracies and despite being given opportunities in territory and possession were unable to capitalise, apart from a single try. There were rough edges to the Irish display but so too enough enterprise and quality to derive benefit from the exercise.

A call before the game was for the halfbacks, Jack Crowley, and Nathan Doak to run the game, which they accomplished, the Munster outhalf mixing his game nicely, while all aspects of his kicking was top class.


Shane Daly, a try scorer grew into the game, Calvin Nash, and Robert Baloucoune also both crossed for tries, as did Stewart Moore who formed a good midfield partnership with Jamie Osborne, the latter’s excellent all-round game including prodigious kicking.

One or two scrum issues aside the pack were cohesive and well drilled in the lineout and it provided a lucrative launch pad for several tries. Max Deegan led his team superbly, for the most part by example, while Joe McCarthy and David McCann stood out too.

Thomas Ahern nicked a couple of balls at the breakdown but was guilty of coughing up a brace of soft penalties for jumping across in the lineout. Scott Penny grabbed a brace of tries while Josh Wycherley also touched down. Ireland’s replacement frontrow sorted out any lingering scrum issues.

Ireland weathered early pressure in the first 10-minutes, some attributable to their own shortcomings in terms of handling errors, getting caught on the edge defensively on one occasion and the concession of a free-kick at scrum time.

Thomas Ahern managed a brilliant turnover steal inside Irish 22 on four minutes but was then penalised for jumping across in the lineout. Griquas owned the ball in that period, taking Ireland on, on the fringes with their forwards, before probing with their backs further out.

Gradually the Irish side found a foothold inspired initially by a brilliant 50/22 kick by Crowley, the outhalf pirouetted to take on the touchline further away at the last second. He brought play from the Irish 22 to get a lineout in Griquas 22.

The visitors did create an early try scoring chance. Despite being under pressure at a scrum, Ireland manufactured a two-on-one out wide, only for Shane Daly to throw to ground what should have been a scoring pass to Robert Baloucoune.

Ireland did eventually take the lead on 13 minutes, having forced the Griquas into conceding a couple of penalties, from the second the visitors muscled their way over for the first try, Penny burrowing under a couple of tacklers close to the line.

Crowley added the conversion and kicked an even better one from close to the touchline when Robert Baloucoune dotted down for a try out wide following Jamie Osborne’s excellent long pass. When Ireland lost David McCann to a yellow card for an accumulation of team offences the Griquas responded with a try from flanker Niel (stet) Otto, converted by Eddie Fouche.

It was the visitors that finished the half stronger, Penny claiming a second try on foot of another well-constructed lineout maul and then just before half-time, Ahern claimed a lineout and once again the maul was perfectly set; this time Penny the provider with a lovely tip on pass to send prop Josh Wycherley over the line.

As in the first half the Griquas were in the ascendant initially after the interval but couldn’t score and the visitors made them pay with a superb team try finished by centre Stewart Moore. Crowley kicked his fifth straight conversion and coach Simon Easterby replaced his entire front row.

Ireland continued to dominate, Crowley delving into his repertoire to push through a gorgeous grubber kick to which Daly won the race for a sixty try. David McCann finished smartly from close range for a seventh and Calvin Nash rounded off the scoring, his try a reward for his selfless work-rate in chasing and tackling.

Scoring sequence

13 mins: Penny try, Crowley conversion, 0-7; 22: Baloucoune try, Crowley conversion, 0-14; 28: Otto try, Fouche conversion, 7-14; 34: Penny try, Crowley conversion, 7-21; 39: Wycherley try, Crowley conversion, 7-28. Half-time: 7-28. 51: Moore try, Crowley conversion, 7-35; 60: Daly try, Crowley conversion, 7-42; 65: McCann try, 7-47; 78: Nash try, Flannery conversion, 7-54.

Griquas: M Jaer: R Oranje, J Cee Nel, T Kruger, L Obi; E Fouché, B Alexander; K Dube, S Westraadt, J Forwood; J Retief, A Liebenberg; N Otto (capt), W Gouws, J Venter.

Replacements: J Mulder for Alexander half-time; J Botha for Forwood half-time; Retief for Venter 59 mins; J Uys, M Mthabela, G Muzanargwo, M Amiras, G Whitehead, A Davids.

Emerging Ireland: S Daly (Munster); C Nash (Munster), J Osborne (Leinster), S Moore (Ulster), R Baloucoune (Ulster); J Crowley (Munster), N Doak (Ulster); J Wycherley (Munster), T Stewart (Ulster), T Clarkson (Leinster); T Ahern (Munster), J McCarthy (Leinster); D McCann (Ulster), S Penny (Leinster), M Deegan (capt).

Replacements: D Barron (Munster) for Stewart 50 mins; M Milne (Leinster) for Wycherley 50 mins; R Salanoa (Munster) for Clarkson 50 mins; B Deeney (Leinster) for Ahern 57 mins; M McDonald (Ulster) for Doak 61 mins; J Hodnett (Munster) for Penny 65 mins; J Flannery (Ulster) for Crowley 67 mins; A Frisch (Munster) for Osborne 68 mins.

Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)

Yellow card: D McCann (Ireland) 26 mins.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer