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Ireland's World dream shattered

Ireland 3-25 New Zealand

By John Fallon

And so the search for Ireland's first win over New Zealand goes on and on.

Ireland gave it everything they had and for over half an hour looked like they might be laying the foundation for an historic quarter-final success in Italy.

But New Zealand, unbeaten when winning the first four world titles in this grade, took control and buried Irish hopes with a devastating show of strength and handling.

They will now go on with high expectation of lifting the World U20 Championship for the first time since winning here in Italy in 2011, while Ireland will commence the battle for fifth place on Monday.

They will go into that series of games with a fair degree of hope despite the scale of this defeat at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella.

Waiting in the fifth place semi-final are Wales, who defeated Ireland 19-12 in the Six Nations competition last March, while Australia and Scotland will also vie for the honour of fifth and a seeding boost for next year's competition.

Ireland should already have been ahead by the time Joey Carbery got them off the mark after 16 minutes with a penalty from 40 metres.

Auckland-born Carbery, who moved to Ireland when he was 12, had earlier been off target with a 45-metre penalty from the left and also an effort from the right as Ireland took the game to the Baby Blacks.

And with Garry Ringrose making an impact from the start and flankers Josh Murphy and Rory Moloney, and winger Jacob Stockdale, also to the fore, it was an encouraging start by Nigel Carolan's lads.

Ringrose set the tone with a superb tackle on New Zealand full-back Luteru Laulala, a brother of former Munster centre Casey, which had the sizeable Irish crowd in good voice.

But as New Zealand showed against Argentina, they punish teams if given an opening and they struck after 19 minutes with only their second attack.

Scrum-half Te Toira Tahuriorangi came close to crossing when they peeled off the back of a strong maul, but Ireland defended stoutly.

However a stunning long pass from out-half Otere Black finished off a stretched Irish defence for Tevita Li to score in the corner, with Ireland full-back Billy Dardis claiming he was impeded by Nathaniel Apa.

New Zealand, with gigantic No.8 Akira Ioane making his presence felt all over the field, got more of the possession and extended their lead to 8-3 after half an hour when Black tapped over a penalty after Murphy was penalised for not binding in a scrum.

Ireland lost captain Nick McCarthy to a shoulder injury five minutes before the break.

New Zealand stretched their llead on the stroke of half-time when Irish prop Andrew Porter was penalised for kicking the ball out of the hands of Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Black kicked from 35 metres to make it 11-3.

New Zealand went for the jugular from the restart, Li bursting through to score under the posts.

Black converted to make it 18-3 and the game was gone from Ireland two minutes later when they were scrummaged off their own five-metre put-in and Blake Gibson scored in the left corner.

The conversion from Black extended the lead to 25-3.

There was no way back for Ireland after that.

Belfast Telegraph


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