Historic Grand Slam for Ireland U20's

Historic Grand Slam for Ireland U20's

Ireland Under-20s showed the spirit of champions to roar from behind to beat Wales 26-17 and claim an historic Grand Slam.

Already crowned Under-20 Six Nations winners after results went their way in Round Four, the visitors were indebted to late tries from Colm Reilly and Tom Clarkson as they turned the tables in the final ten minutes.

Jonathan Wren and Dylan Tierney-Martin also scored crucial efforts as Ireland dug deep to cling onto the coattails of a Cai Evans-inspired home team in Colwyn Bay.

Dominant both in terms of possession and territory in the early stages, it was the hosts who struck the first blow, Aneurin Owen profiting from a sweeping move to finish Tomi Lewis' smart offload in the corner.

Ireland responded by putting together strong phases of their own, but some stoic Welsh defending on their own line kept the visitors at bay.

The momentum was still very much with the home side, and with the sturdy boot of Evans navigating them around the pitch, they were soon to extend their lead - the full-back taking advantage from the tee after Ireland had been penalised at ruck time.

Slowly but surely, though, Ireland started to to turn the tide in a manner befitting Grand Slam contenders. Their steady improvement was rewarded just before half-time as Wren weaved his way over following fellow wing Angus Kernohan's break.

The try was the lifeline Noel McNamara's men needed, and better was to follow in the second period, hooker Tierney-Martin opportunistically ripping the ball from a ruck to crash over for his fifth score in this year's Championship.

Ireland led for the first time on the night, but after Kernohan saw an effort disallowed for a forward pass, the pendulum once again swung.

Flanker Jac Morgan, a powerful presence throughout, crashed his way through a couple of challenges to cap an excellent Wales move spearheaded by replacement Ryan Conbeer.

The ever-reliable Evans added the extras as Wales once more assumed the initiative heading into the final quarter.

But the final say belonged to champions Ireland, who showed the crucial blend of spirit and quality to turn the match decisively in their favour.

Reilly, on as a second-half replacement, burst clear to dot down for the all-important score with eight minutes to play.

Jake Flannery missed the conversion to give his teammates some breathing room, but Ireland secured the win in the final minute through prop Clarkson to seal their first-ever Grand Slam at this level.

via SixNationsRugby.com

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