Wales end brave Irish fightback as U20 title hopes die

England retain their title with victory over Scotland

Wales’ Kieran Williams scores his side’s fourth try during the Under-20 Six Nations Championship match against Ireland at  Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay. Photograph: Alex Dodd/Inpho/Camerasport

Wales’ Kieran Williams scores his side’s fourth try during the Under-20 Six Nations Championship match against Ireland at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay. Photograph: Alex Dodd/Inpho/Camerasport

 

Wales U20 41 Ireland U20 27

Ireland’s hopes of winning the Under-20 Six Nations title are over after a brave fightback fell short against a clinical Wales side at Colwyn Bay.

Captain Calvin Nash had hauled his side into an early lead, before Wales reacted with scores from Corrie Tarrant, Dane Blacker and Kieran Williams.

But the boot of Bill Johnston kept them in touch before Joey Conway and Paul Boyle levelled up the scores.

Williams showed why he is being touted as the next star off the Ospreys production line as he scored his second try to wrap up the bonus-point triumph before the home side made sure of victory through replacement Jack Pope.

England’s victory over Scotland meant they matched the seniors to reclaim their Six Nations crown.

Ireland were chasing a fourth successive victory to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive.

Ben Jones kicked Wales into an early lead with a penalty, but the unbeaten Irish were in front four minutes later.

Fullback Jordan Larmour fielded a kick and jinked back down the blindside before offloading to captain Nash, who sprinted over to score.

But their lead was short lived. Wales outhalf Jones spotted space on the openside before delivering a perfectly timed pass to put Tarrant through a gaping hole to score.

Jones converted to give the hosts a 10-7 advantage, before the free-flowing Welsh attack struck again.

Corey Baldwin found space down his left wing before finding Cameron Lewis on the charge.

The outside centre then gave a basketball style pass to Blacker to cruise over and take Wales 10 points clear.

Johnston kicked two penalties at the end of the first half to cut the deficit to only four points at half-time, but Kieran Williams sliced through in midfield and raced over for a third Welsh try to make it 24-13.

A second Jones penalty edged Wales further ahead, but Ireland showed their brute force to push loosehead prop Conway over the try line after a powerful drive.

Johnston added the extras to pull his side back to within a converted try of Wales and the comeback was complete after 50 minutes.

The young Irish side got themselves back into Wales territory before Boyle barged over from close range and Johnston was on target again to level the scores.

Replacement Conor Fitzgerald was shown yellow for failing to retreat 10 metres, and they were made to pay when Williams cut through again to score his fifth try of the championship for the bonus point, and Pope finished the job.

WALES U20: R Williams; C Baldwin, C Lewis, K Williams, R Conbeer; B Jones, D Blacker; R Carre, C Tarrant , K Assiratti;, A Dombrandt, S Moore; S Lewis-Hughes, W Jones (capt), A Ward.

Replacements: J Botham for W Jones (59 mins), R Morgan-Williams for Blacker (61 mins), O Hughes for Tarrant, C Coleman for Assiratti (both 65 mins), S Thomas for Carre (69 mins), I Nicholas for C Lewis (72 mins), J Pope for ( Dombrandt (75 mins).

IRELAND U20: J Larmour; T O’Brien, J Kelly, C Frawley, C Nash (capt); B Johnston, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, C Connolly; F Wycherley, O Dowling; G Coombes, P Boyle, C Doris.

Replacements: C Hogan for J Kelly (50 mins), C Fitzgerald for Nash (54 mins), R Kelleher for T McElroy (57 mins), M Rea for G Coombes (64 mins), J Regan F Wycherley (69 mins), M Burke C Connolly (72 mins).

Yellow card: C Fitzgerald.

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