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Ireland's youngsters have World title in sight

Ireland 38 - Fiji 0

By Niall Crozier

Mike Ruddock's Ireland Under-20s have created history by reaching the semi-finals of the IRB Junior World Championship.

Although Ireland's Under-21s made it to the final in 2004, this is the furthest the Under-20s have ever gone. In their final Pool B match, they blew their Fijian counterparts away at Auckland's QBE Stadium, winning 38-0.

Three penalty tries, further scores by Ciaran Gaffney and Conor McKeon, four conversions and a penalty by Garry Ringrose plus a final two-pointer from McKeon underlined Ireland's superiority.

The first of Ireland's five tries was a penalty try, conceded when the Fijians were down to 14 men, No 8 Vincent Sosefo having been sent to the sin-bin.

And the indisciplined Fijians had just 12 players on the pitch –forwards Ameniasi Natuiyaga and Aseri Robarobalevu were binned in quick succession – when they conceded a second penalty try on the stroke of half-time.

Ireland were in the driving seat and when Connacht wing Gaffney touched down nine minutes into the second half, it became a question of how many more tries they would amass.

The answer was two, with a third penalty try ensuring the bonus point with 13 minutes left.

With two minutes to go, McKeon linked with Ringrose whose clever footwork and inside pass sent his Leinster team-mate over for the closing seven-pointer.

IRELAND: Cian Kelleher (Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Dan Goggin (Munster), Alex Wootton (Munster); Ross Byrne (Leinster), Ryan Foley (Munster); Peter Dooley (Leinster), Max Abbott (Munster), Rory Burke (Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Leinster), Ross Molony (Leinster), Josh Murphy (Leinster), Rory Moloney (Connacht), Jack O'Donoghue (Munster, capt).

Replacements used: Harrison Brewer (Leinster) for Goggin (8-15 mins, temp sub), Nick McCarthy (Leinster) for Foley, Frankie Taggart (Ulster) for Murphy (both 44), Oisin Heffernan (Leinster) for Burke (53), Brewer for Goggin (56), Dylan Donnellan (Leinster) for Abbott (57), Conor McKeon (Leinster) for Byrne (59), Denis Coulson (Leinster) for Dooley (65), Darragh Moloney (Munster) for O'Donoghue (72).

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