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Irish in relegation dogfight after loss to Scots loss

Scotland U-20s 46 Ireland U-20s 29

By John Fallon

Ireland, finalists two years ago, will be relegated from the World Rugby U-20 Championship unless they defeat Japan in Sunday's relegation decider.

Defeat in that game against a Japan side who were only beaten by a late Georgia try last night will see Ireland into the World Trophy competition next year, an eight-team tournament.

Irish coach Noel McNamara, who has Paul O'Connell on his management team, said it will be difficult to regroup for their encounter in Beziers, but he's determined they will not be relegated.

"It's going to be a challenge. It's a challenge regardless, particularly when you are coming off the back of a couple of losses," he said after the defeat at Stade Aime Giral yesterday.

"It's important that we believe in what we are doing, that we recognise what we did well in the game. We did some really good things. But the reality is we will be relegated if we lose.

"We had some really positive defensive sets, we scored some really good tries. But unfortunately, we made some errors that were compounded and a bit of a lack of discipline as well allowed Scotland to get into the game and really cost us."

It seemed highly unlikely his men would find themselves in a relegation dogfight when they raced into a 14-3 lead after 23 minutes, with out-half Harry Byrne getting them off the mark with a good try after ten minutes.

He set up the second for Peter Sylvester but mistakes crept into the Irish performance in the lineout and in open play.

Scotland, who had also lost their three opening fixtures, took over and led by 24-17 at the break with tighthead Finlay Richardson getting in for two tries.

Winger Logan Trotter got their fourth try nine minutes after the restart and there was no way back for Ireland after that although Tommy O'Brien and Jack Daly got in for tries, but by the end Scotland had outscored them by six to four on another very disappointing day for the Irish.

SCORERS, Ireland: H Byrne, M Sylvester, S O'Brien, J Daly tries; H Byrne pen, 2 cons; C Dean con.

Scotland: F Richardson (2), L Trotter, K Rowe, G Graham, D Onojaife tries; C Chapman pen, 6 cons.

IRELAND: M Silvester (T Roche 76); J Hume, S O'Brien, P Sylvester, T O'Brien; H Byrne (C Dean 58), H O'Sullivan (J Stewart 63); J Duggan (B O'Connor 50), D Barron (D Sheehan 50), J Byrne; M Dalton (C Ryan 58), J Dunne; J Dunleavy, M Agnew (J Daly 60), C Doris.

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