Ireland’s maintain 100 per cent record but All Blacks up next
Nigel Carolan’s Under-20s claim second victory of World Championships with 24-20 win over Scotland
Ireland’s Conor Oliver scores their second try against Scotland. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho
Ireland 24 Scotland 20
The heat in northern Italy is enough of a struggle without Ireland putting everyone through a heart-stopping final quarter but after two games played in the World Rugby U-20 Championship, two wins have been achieved.
Now, Ireland will assess the damage from another energy-sapping encounter before preparing to take on New Zealand in a pool decider in Viadana on Wednesday night.
Ireland have never beaten New Zealand in this grade - nor in any other than last year’s women’s success - but Nigel Carolan’s men will go into that contest with nothing to lose and take hope from the way Argentina ran them to 32-29 in the second game in Calvisano.
This victory at Stadio San Michele in 31 degree heat was not as dramatic as the last gasp win over Argentina on the opening day, but once again Ireland mixed the good with the bad and survived.
Garry Ringrose’s star continues to rise with every game and he was again the key figure as Ireland recovered from a slow start to take control of the game and open up a 15-0 lead after 32 minutes.
Ireland were penned back on their own line in the opening minutes as Scotland went to the right corner with three penalties, but the defence was strong and Carolan’s men struck a telling psychological boost by holding the Scots at bay.
Rongrose’s class in midfield, ably supported by Sam Arnold, gave Ireland a strong base and Ringrose cut the opening which led to Billy Dardis crossing after 12 minutes.
The fullback almost got a second on the half hour but when he was stopped short Ireland recycled well and flanker Conor Oliver spotted a gap and dived through.
Joey Carbery, who landed a penalty prior to that, converted for a 15-3 interval lead and he extended it with another kick just after the restart.
But George Horne, brother of Scottish international Peter, landed his second penalty to give Scotland hope and they continued to show great spirit.
Both sides were guilty of multiple knock-ons with the greasy ball in the very humid conditions, but the Scots were particularly guilty, not least when the try-line beckoned as they spilled the ball no fewer than three times. In fairness, there was nearly always an Irish body hanging out of them.
Scotland got their reward when Lewis Carmichael got over in the left corner and Horne landed the difficult conversion to make it 18-13 and ensure a nervous finish for the Irish.
Carbery eased nerves with another penalty but Scotland still kept coming back but Tomas Quinlan, the hero against Argentina, wrapped it up with a late penalty, although there was still time for a consolation try for Scotland’s Ruaridh Knott.
Tries: B Dardis, C Oliver
Cons: J Carbery (1)
Pens: J Carbery (3), T Quinlan (1)
Tries: L Carmichael, R Knott
Cons: G Horne, B Kinghorn
Pens: G Horne (2)
Ireland: B Dardis (UCD); C Gaffney (Galwegians), G Ringrose (UCD), S Arnold (Ballynahinch), S Fitzgerald (Shannon); J Carbery (UCD), N McCarthy, (UCD) (Capt); A Porter (UCD), S McNulty (UCD), O Heffernan (Terenure College); D O’Connor (St Mary’s College), A Thompson (Queen’s University Belfast); J Murphy (UCD), C Oliver (St Mary’s), L Dow (Queen’s University Belfast). Replacements: Z McCall (Queen’s University Belfast) for McNulty (52 mins), C O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG) for Heffernan (52 mins), N Timoney (St Mary’s College) for Dow (52 mins), J Stockdale (Queen’s University Belfast) for Arnold (61 mins), J Dwan (UCD) for Thompson (63 mins), L O’Connor (Cork Constitution) for Porter (63) T Quinlan (Cork Constitution) for Carbery (67 mins), C Rock (Old Belvedere) for McCarthy (67 mins)
Scotland: R Howarth; R Nairn, T Galbraith, P Kelly, A Coombes; B Kinghorn, G Horne; M McCallum, S James, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, L Carmichael; N Irvine-Hess, J Ritchie (Capt), M Bradbury. Replacements: R Knott for Ritchie (28-37, 40 mins), R Hutchinson for Bradbury (32 mins), D Elkington for McCallum (46 mins), R Graham for James (49), A Davidson for Horne (57 mins), B Vellacott for Cummings (57 mins), R Galloway for Galbraith (61 mins), J Owlett for Fagerson (78 mins)
Referee: Will Houston (Australia)