Ireland Under 20s began their World Championship campaign in Argentina with an impressive 42-26 win over England. Like the opening game of the Six Nations it was an extremely open affair with England racing into a 10-0 lead with scores from Ollie Sleightholme with Manu Vunipola adding a conversions and a penalty. Then Ireland found a rapid response with David Mc Cann getting over for the first of his two tries, Jake Flannery added the extra 2 to bring the contest close to 10-7.
England were full of very familiar names like Vunipola , Manu is a 1st cousin of the senior Internationals Billy and Mako , you had Tom De Glanville whose father Phil played for England and won a Heineken Cup with Bath in 1998. This group is not the strongest group that England has sent to the Under 20 World Cup in recent times but they will look to bounce back against Italy on match day 2.
Back to the game, England will look back on their indispline where they had two players sent to the sin bin and had replacement hooker Alfie Barbery red carded for a tip tackle on John Hodnett which led to the number 7 having to go off for a head injury assessment.
They will know that they had to play 35 minutes of the games with only 14 players on the field after the two yellow cards and the red card late on. They will also need to sharpen up at the break down where starting scrum half Ollie Fox was caught at the base of a number of rucks and his slow presentation directly affected two of Ireland’s tries where inside centre Stewart Moore used his knowledge of the laws at ruck time to snipe in and score a clever try.
Ireland will need to tighten up in defence because just thinking they will out score teams at will won’t sustain as we go on in this Championship. They play a very open style that also includes some elements that the senior men’s team also do well like the pick and go and also some line out drills that the senior team use. It has been great to see the linkup between the senior men’s team and the 20s that has seen a number of training sessions take place involving both squads.
Ireland went to this Championship shorn of guys like Scott Penny, Harry Byrne and captain David Hawkshaw who were all ruled out of the campaign for varying reasons over the past few months. But Ireland can still call on live wire scrum half Craig Casey who has recently signed a development deal with his home province Munster, others like John Hodnett, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Charlie Ryan and Ryan Baird have plenty of experience at this level.
They will know after a successful opening day that if they can beat Australia at 2pm this Saturday live on Eir Sport that they will be well on the way to qualifying for the play off section of this Championship. They have started this campaign is good fashion and will be keen to continue the good form on Saturday afternoon.