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Robert Baloucoune thrills Ireland support as star of the future among three Ulster scorers during big win over USA

Ireland 71-10 USA

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Robert Baloucoune put in an eye-catching performance on his Ireland debut. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Robert Baloucoune put in an eye-catching performance on his Ireland debut. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
IrelandÕs Nick Timoney scores a try 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA IrelandÕs Nick Timoney scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
Ireland's Hugo Keenan celebrates after scoring a try with Caolin Blade and Robert Baloucoune 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA Ireland's Hugo Keenan celebrates after scoring a try with Caolin Blade and Robert Baloucoune Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
IrelandÕs Robert Baloucoune scores a try 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA IrelandÕs Robert Baloucoune scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
Ireland's Robert Baloucoune celebrates after scoring a try with Craig Casey and Stuart McCloskey 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA Ireland's Robert Baloucoune celebrates after scoring a try with Craig Casey and Stuart McCloskey Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
Ireland's Robert Baloucoune celebrates after scoring a try with James Hume 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA Ireland's Robert Baloucoune celebrates after scoring a try with James Hume Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
Ireland’s Stuart McCloskey scores a try 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA Ireland’s Stuart McCloskey scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
IrelandÕs Robert Baloucoune offloads to Stuart McCloskey 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA IrelandÕs Robert Baloucoune offloads to Stuart McCloskey Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
USA’s Mike Te'o tackles James Hume of Ireland 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA USA’s Mike Te'o tackles James Hume of Ireland Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
USA’s David Ainu'u tackles Tom O'Toole of Ireland 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA USA’s David Ainu'u tackles Tom O'Toole of Ireland Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021
Ireland vs USA
Ireland's Will Addison competes in the air 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/7/2021 Ireland vs USA Ireland's Will Addison competes in the air Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

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Robert Baloucoune put in an eye-catching performance on his Ireland debut. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

If this was even a brief glimpse into the future, then Ireland have a lot to be excited about.

There is only so much you can read into a routine win over a 14-man USA side, who were miles off the pace, but a young Irish team were impressive in how they went about ruthlessly ripping them asunder.

Rónan Kelleher scored four of Ireland's 10 tries, and with eight players making their Test debuts, Andy Farrell will have been pleased by what he saw, having dug deep into the talent pool.

Perhaps it was youthful exuberance, yet it has been a long time since an Ireland team played with such freedom.

There were some errors along the way, but for the most part, Ireland looked in control of what they were doing and the thrilling style of play certainly bodes well.

It's naive to think Ireland will suddenly start throwing as many offloads against stronger teams come the November Tests, yet this was proof that Farrell's men are well capable of mixing it up.

Ireland have a star in the making in Robert Baloucoune, who raised the decibel levels amongst the 6,000 supporters at the Aviva Stadium every time he got on the ball.

The Ulster flyer looks every bit the real deal and this is sure to have been his first of many appearances in green.

James Hume was very sharp in midfield, fellow debutants Gavin Coombes and Tom O'Toole also impressed, while Craig Casey and Joey Carbery linked well at half-back.

Ireland were sluggish early on and with the lineout misfiring for the second week running, it took a seventh minute Carbery penalty to settle the nerves.

USA turned down three kickable shots at goal and for all that their ambition was to be admired, it was wildly misplaced.

Baloucoune hadn't much of the ball in the opening exchanges but as soon as his moment arrived, the 23-year-old announced his arrival on the international stage in stunning fashion.

Having shored up the lineout, Ireland ran a training ground move, with Carbery putting Baloucoune into a gap in midfield. After that, it was all about the raw pace and devastating footwork of the Fermanagh man, who danced his way through the USA defence for a dream moment on his debut.

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Carbery nailed the touchline conversion, but Ireland were briefly pegged back when Athlone native Luke Carty kicked a penalty from in front.

To their credit, between them James Ryan and Kelleher fixed Ireland's woes and it paid huge dividends, as they scored two tries in four minutes from well-worked mauls.

Kelleher was first to crash over off the back of the powerful maul before Nick Timoney repeated the trick shortly after.

Carbery converted both scores for a 24-3 lead and the out-half was on target again shortly after, as Ireland scored a cracking team try.

It started from deep with Coombes cleverly linking with Andrew Conway down the left flank. The winger regathered his clever grubber kick and found Hugo Keenan, whose perfectly-timed pass allowed Kelleher an easy run in for his second try.

Carbery's conversion gave Ireland a comfortable 31-3 half-time lead and that might have been increased 20 seconds after the restart, but Caelan Doris had the ball knocked from his grasp.

The floodgates were still open, however, and the USA were powerless in stemming the flow.

Ireland's lineout again fired, which allowed Kelleher complete his hat-trick, having broken off the maul. Carbery maintained his 100pc record from the tee.

It was quickly going from bad to worse for America, as Riekert Hattingh was sent off for a high shot on Kelleher. The Ireland hooker dusted himself off and his last act was to crash over for his fourth try, with Harry Byrne adding the easy extras.

Baloucoune was heavily involved in Ireland's seventh try, as he played a lovely offload for his Ulster team-mate Stuart McCloskey to score for the second week running.

Byrne's conversion came back off the post but he soon made amends when McCloskey turned creator, with a smart kick in behind the defence, whose back-field cover was non-existent. Keenan hared onto the ball and kept his composure to finish.

The visitors were out on their feet at 57-3 down, but with 16 minutes still left on the clock, Ireland weren't finished yet.

Coombes capped his impressive display with his first try on his first start, with Byrne coolly slotting the touchline conversion.

USA managed to get over for a late consolation try through Micheal Baska, converted by Will Magie. But Finlay Bealham ensured a memorable night for Ireland's future stars finished on a positive, as the prop powered over from close range, with Will Addison's conversion putting the icing on the cake.

Scorers - Ireland: Kelleher 4 tries, Baloucoune, Timoney, McCloskey, Keenan, Coombes, Bealham 1 try each Carbery 5 cons & 1 pen, Byrne 3 cons, Addison 1 con.

USA: Baska 1 try, Carty 1 pen, Magie 1 con.

Ireland – H Keenan; R Baloucoune, J Hume, S McCloskey, A Conway (W Addison h-t); J Carbery (H Byrne 53), C Casey (C Blade 59); D Kilcoyne (E Byrne 55), R Kelleher (D Heffernan 55), T O'Toole (F Bealham 72); R Baird (F Wycherley 57), J Ryan (capt); C Doris, N Timoney (P Boyle 53), G Coombes.

USA – M Te'o; C Dyer (W Magie 64), C Whiting, B Campbell (capt), M Kruse; L Carty (Dyrer 70), R de Haas (M Baska 59); D Ainu'u (M Harmon 68), J Taufete'e (K Pifeleti, 47), P Mullen (D Waldren 59); G Peterson (N Brakeley h-t), N Civetta; H Germishuys (P Wooching, 66), R Hattingh, C Dolan (A Guerra 73).

Ref – M Raynal (France)

Here's the game as it happened:


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