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Ireland U20 Player Ratings: Bonus Point Win Seals Second Ever Semi-Final Spot

Ireland U20 Player Ratings: Bonus Point Win Seals Second Ever Semi-Final Spot
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Ireland got the job done against Georgia after an early scare. 35 unanswered points after Georgia scrumhalf Lobzhaindze put the Georgians ahead, and Ireland are into the semi-finals for just the second ever time.

They will likely play Argentina - provided England beat Australia as expected, and the Argentines laboured to a 39-20 win over Japan.

It was a much changed team from Carolan with not much time between games, and here's how the replacements did.

15. Brett Connon 6.5

Not Connon's best game. He was my favourite back in the Six Nations when he got his hands on the ball, and was a flawless kicker. McPhillips kept the kicking duties, and took more control - leaving Connon a bit on the outside. He's still a very intelligent player, and acted as scrumhalf a few times on the wing, but I would have expected more.

14. Terry Kennedy 7

It's very obvious that Kennedy has played a lot of 7's rugby. We saw all of his pace, stepping, and offloading - some good, some bad. He's a livewire.

13. Jimmy O'Brien 7

Looked better at 13 than he has coming on at 12. Got more into the game and looked assured.

12. Paul Kiernan 7.5

The Munster U20 captain has a bit of class about him. Plays very intelligent rugby, running smart lines in support - always doing the right thing. He looked very comfortable throughout the game, displaying very good passing skills and handling ability. Must be putting pressure on Conor O'Brien to start.

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11. Hugo Keenan 8

What a step for his try. Keenan put in his third good game of the tournament. His pace and attacking ability are a joy to watch, and he wasn't caught out in defense this time either.

10. Johnny McPhillips 7.5

McPhillips has improved immeasurably since the Six Nations. He did well in relief of the injured Johnston last time out, and looked a lot more assured against Georgia. Of course, the service from Saunders gave him more time - but McPhillips looked more demanding of his players, and his play improved because of that.

9. Niall Saunders 8

Only just out of school, you can see why he's so highly rated. The Harlequins scrumhalf was quick to every ruck and gave McPhillips so much time on the ball. He earned more gametime with this performance, and will be key feature of the U20s team next year. He's got a big future.

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1. James Bollard 6.5

Bollard has clearly learned a lot from watching Andrew Porter. He put himself about, and tried to carry almost everything. Great workrate, but was part of a struggling scrum.

2. Vincent O'Brien 7

Looked assured out of touch, and the lineout ran really well. Doesn't have the loose play of McBurney, but his bread and butter was very good.

3. Vakh Abdaladze 6

Playing against the country of his birth, the Clontarf loosehead prop has been forced to cover tighthead after Conor Kenny's withdrawal. He went so well against New Zealand, but the Georgian scrum is a different beast. Abdaladze struggled, and understandably so. No shame in that.

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4. Evan Mintern 7.5

A nuisance for the Georgian at all times. Carried really well all game, and smashed into rucks over and over again. A great debut at this level.

5. Sean O'Connor 8

Another nuisance. Not quite the same type of player as Ryan, but effective in his own right. Shane Horgan's choice for man of the match.

6. Greg Jones 7.5

What hands to set Jimmy O'Brien away for Kennedy's try. Brilliant hands. He was an unsung hero against New Zealand, and Jones showed up well again.

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7. Conall Boomer 7

Some good bits of play from Boomer - his support play was good, and his hands were excellent out wide to send his wingers away. His breakdown work needed to be more effective though, and we might not see him again.

8. Kelvin Brown 6

His injury will be a big blow, and hopefully it's not too bad. He's been huge off the bench in the first two games, but never had a chance to get going.

Replacements:

16. Adam McBurney n/a

Not on long enough

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17. Andrew Porter 9

In his first game we saw how good he can be on the ball. In the second we saw him dominate at scrum-time. He came on for thirty minutes here, and showed how good he can be at the breakdown. What can't this guy do? He should be in the Leinster team, he's that good.

18. Adam Coyle 8

Coyle was part of the new front row that swung the dominance in the scrum. Not bad for a new cap.

19. Cillian Gallagher 7.5

Possibly his best showing of the tournament. Looked like he was everywhere when he came off, as if he had something to prove.

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20. Max Deegan 8

This was supposed to be a rest for Deegan, who can so far lay claim to being Ireland's player of the tournament. He showed up even more in loose play today,

21. Stephen Kerins 8

Unlucky not to get a try, but it was interesting to get a glimpse of the increased tempo that comes with bringing Kerins on. Punished the tiring Georgians.

22. Shane Daly 7

The pass that was ultimately called forward (harshly) for Kerins try showed great ability and vision. Should keep his starting spot.

23. Jacob Stockdale 6

Not on a long time, and hard to give a real rating.

See Also: Watch: Georgia Flanker Sent Off For Kicking Irish U20 Player After Ireland Try

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