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England 20-26 Ireland: U-20 skipper James Ryan leads the way


Pass master: Ireland's Johnny McPhillips goes through

Pass master: Ireland's Johnny McPhillips goes through

©INPHO/Alex Dodd

Pass master: Ireland's Johnny McPhillips goes through

A repeat of this remarkable win in Twickenham this evening will have Irish fans celebrating long into the night as Nigel Carolan's U-20 side showed commendable character to turn what seemed would be a heavy defeat into a deserved victory.

Ireland, having lost their opening two games to Wales and France, looked set for another defeat when England extended their 17-6 interval lead with a drop-goal two minutes after the restart.

But Ireland, with captain James Ryan leading the way with an inspirational performance, clawed their way back into contention to secure a memorable win.

Ireland, bidding to get their campaign up and running after successive losses to Wales and France, enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half but found themselves 17-6 adrift at the break.

But with Ryan leading by example and Ireland building the phases by cutting out the mistakes, the complexion of the game changed and Carolan's men grew in confidence.

The try which really got Ireland back in the hunt was superbly worked with a good move being finished by quality passes from Conor O'Brien and Brett Connon to put Matthew Byrne over in the right corner.

England piled on the pressure after that and looked set to extend their lead but Ireland defended superbly and broke for Andrew Porter to score to make it 23-20.

Ireland then closed out the game and they never looked like losing their lead in the dying moments of the match.

Belfast Telegraph