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Relief as young Irish seal spot at next year's World Cup

Ireland U20 52 Samoa U20 26

By Robert Jones

The Ireland U20s breathed a sigh of relief after they finally got a win that ensures their place at next year's World Cup.

It was a routine victory which was a far cry from the struggles endured in their three pool defeats. The contest was as good as over by half-time as a dominant display from the pack had them 26-5 in front. Another four tries arrived in the second half.

"It's a relief," captain Paul Boyle admitted. "There were a few harsh words after the first few games and we stepped it up."

Ireland will take on hosts Georgia in Sunday's ninth-place play-off as they round off a disappointing campaign.

Hooker Ronan Kelleher got Ireland off to a flying start with a try inside five minutes. Ulster Academy prop Peter Cooper soon followed before Fineen Wycherley and Oisin Dowling capped a one-sided half. Conor Dean converted three of the four scores.

Theodore Solipo did manage to cross for Samoa but they never threatened to cause an upset.

Calvin Nash scored a fine try shortly after the restart but Setu Enoka got over for a try that Ricky Ene converted.

Ireland regrouped and Kelleher dotted down for his second try before Ciaran Frawley and Caelan Doris brought Ireland's tally to eight tries. Dean took his own haul to 12 points.

Pupi Ah See and Afioga Ielemia did manage to get over for two more tries for Samoa that were converted by Ene but, by that stage, Ireland's minds had already drifted after getting the job done.

Belfast Telegraph


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