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Irish Under-20 hopes wrecked by mighty England

Ireland's chances of adding a World Cup semi-final place to their Six Nations title went out the window yesterday as they succumbed 36-21 to a powerful English outfit.

Unlucky to lose to France in the opener, Ireland were out-muscled in their second group game and Allen Clarke's side now need a win against hosts Argentina on Saturday to secure a place in the fifth-placed play-off after a brave performance was not enough to overcome the impressive English.

England's Tom Homer and Ireland's James McKinney exchanged two penalties each and England made the first significant move as the opening quarter drew to a close. From a five-metre scrum, blindside Jamie Gibson powered through Dominic Ryan's tackle and over.

Homer added the conversion and extended his side's lead to 10 with a penalty. However, a superb Simon Zebo break from midfield, that took him within five metres of the line, gave the Irish backs a chink of light.

From a scrum in the ‘22', McKinney fed Brendan Macken, who looped on Zebo before finding his Blackrock schoolmate Andrew Conway on the left wing, and he crossed in the corner.

Homer and McKinney kicked a penalty each but then after turning over the scrum England went through the phases before substitute Freddie Burns stepped inside the cover to score, Homer converting. Burns grabbed a second try off the bench, intercepting a David McSharry pass to give the scoreline a gloss for the English.

Eoin Griffin crossed for a late Irish consolation try.\[Peter Hutcheon\]IRELAND: A Conway; N Spence, B Macken (E Griffin 75), N Reid, S Zebo; J McKinney (D McSharry 70), J Cooney (M Heaney 70); J O'Connell (B Cagney 59), N Annett (D Doyle 70), S Maguire; D O'Callaghan, B Hayes (B Marshall 44); R Ruddock, D Ryan (B O'Hara 59), P Butler.

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