A hard-hitting injury time try from England replacement Tom Willis dashed Ireland’s hopes of a 5th place finish at this years U20 World Championship. The try was scored in cruel sporting fashion in the final phase of play securing revenge for England after earlier defeats to Ireland in this year’s tournament as well losing to Noel McNamara side in the U20 2019 Six Nations.
Ireland’s all-season showing of pride for the jersey and a never say die attitude was on show this evening as they clawed their way back from 23-9 down to level the match with nine minutes to go and a extra man on the pitch.
The scoreline didn’t reward Ireland for a finish, having dominated possession of the ball as well as stealing six of England’s lineouts, they will be wondering how the game got away from them.
England’s number eight Ted Hill got a yellow card for lifting Ireland captain Charlie Ryan horizontally after just six minutes of play while England loosehead Kai Owen was sent to the sin bin for a high hit on Michael Milne. At a scoreline of 13-6 to England at the break, Ireland maybe should have been more clinical with English players in the bin.
England only pilled on the pressure to the Irish scrum in the second half to provide them with a further 10 points of the scoreboard after a penalty from Hodge and a second England try scored by Sam Maunder.
Ireland made some costly errors in the second half, with Irish hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin receiving a yellow card for a high tackle on Hodge. After 57 minutes Ireland had a man in the bin and was 13 points adrift.
But in looking down the barrel of defeat, Ireland battled hard and were rewarded on 70 minutes when Jonathan Wren showed his excellent footwork to score in the corner. Ben Healy kicked a superb conversion to make it 23-16 to England.
Just minutes later, Ireland created an opportunity to level things up when Brian Deeny timed his charge down on an England box-kick to re-gather the ball and race 50 metres to score a try. Healy’s added the extras with the boot to tie things up at 23-23 as fulltime approached.
It was a case for not enough time on the clock when England did deliver that final hammer blow in the dying seconds of play and Ireland will now face New Zealand in a game which will decide the team that finishes seventh or eighth at this year’s World Championship.