Rugby

Ireland U20s Player Ratings: Healy Magic But Injuries Take Their Toll

Ireland U20s Player Ratings: Healy Magic But Injuries Take Their Toll

Ireland U20s thrashed Italy in their final pool game at the World Rugby U20 Championship, scoring five tries in a 38-14 win.

It is unlikely to be enough to see Ireland U20s earn a top four spot in the playoffs, but Noel McNamara's side will be favoured in the 5th-8th place playoffs going forward.

Here's how we rated Ireland's performance.

15. Jake Flannery - 6

He didn’t really look comfortable defending at 15. The Munsterman let too many kicks bounce in his own 22 and put himself under unnecessary pressure. Still, he showed his usual danger with ball in hand.

14. Angus Kernohan - 7

Didn’t have much of a chance to impact the game but carried well when he was given an opportunity. Made a brilliant catch from a Garryowen inside the Italian 22 and could have done more if not for injury.

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13. Liam Turner - 8

Did well creating space from limited ball. His break before Baird’s try was very slickly done and made some nice offloads along the way.

12. Cormac Foley - 7

Scored an early try, finishing off a nice move from the Irish backs but didn’t see too many openings after that.

11. Rob Russell - 7

Looked susceptible under the high ball at times but was always a danger anytime he got his hands on the ball. Was unlucky not to have scored more.

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10. Ben Healy - 9

Started the tournament as the second choice number 10 but has impressed every time he has taken the field in Argentina. Drained a kick from the touchline to maintain Ireland’s 100% kicking record at the tournament and did all he could to make sure he is starting at 10 in the next round.

9. Colm Reilly - 7

Kept the play ticking over for Ireland U20s and provided his teammates with some nice passes. Was caught out for Italy's first try but did his best to make up for it with some strong defending for the rest of the game.

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1. Josh Wycherley - 6

It’s not his fault alone that Ireland U20s were dominated in the scrum but no prop will enjoy being marched backwards like that. Has yet to show the dynamism we know he is capable of.

2. John McKee - 6

His lineout throwing was poor in a game in which Ireland needed to be perfect in every aspect to have any hope of putting pressure on South Africa and New Zealand for that fourth playoff spot. Struggled at scrumtime too but put himself about admirably in open play.

3. Michael Milne - 7

Finished his try brilliantly and made some big carries as needed but could do little to stop Italy’s scrum. Kept going for longer than you'd expect for a front rower in such heat.

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4. Thomas Ahern - 9

His day was cruelly cut short in the first half but he was so destructive for the half hour he was on the field, with a nose for a turnover from the second row that would remind you of Tadhg Beirne.

5. Ryan Baird - 8

He was a nuisance for Italy all game, disrupting the lineout and smashing into opponents in attack and defence. The Leinsterman will be proud of the heads-up play that saw him ground the ball for a try from the back of an Irish ruck.

6. David McCann - 8

Once again, he was everywhere until he was forced off with an injury in the second half. One of the many players Ireland will be hoping can be fit for the next round.

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7. Ciaran Booth - 7

Started well and disrupted at the breakdown but was punished for his eagerness to get over the ball, as he suffered what looked to be a nasty injury at the breakdown as he tried to make a steal.

8. Azur Allison - 8

The Ulsterman can be a destructive force when he gets going and while he didn’t hit full speed today, he was still dangerous and scored a try from close range.

Replacements - 8

The injuries seemed to disrupt Ireland somewhat but Charlie Ryan, Jonathan Wren and Dylan Tierney-Martin all threatened off the bench.

Ryan in particular did well to make sure that Ireland did not miss the superb Thomas Ahern after he went off in the first half.

Read More: Irish Back-Row Taken Out By The Very Thing Rugby Has To Eradicate From The Game

Kevin Beirne

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