Ireland have lost their first game of this year's U20 Six Nations. Richie Murphy's side fell 24-15 to a powerful English side at Cardiff Arms Park.
It was an English team which caused major problems for Ireland with their rapid defensive line speed and a lethal lineout maul.
England took the lead in the 17th minute through a dominant maul which saw loosehead prop Phil Brantingham extend his arm to touch down. Out-half Fin Smith added the conversion with a superb kick from out wide.
10 minutes later, it again looked as though England's maul was going to force another try, but some tremendous defensive grit from Ireland - and openside Oisin McCormack in particular - forced the turnover.
With a few minutes left in the half, Ireland were reduced to 14 players when winger Chris Cosgrave was yellow carded after referee Adam Jones felt they had conceded too many offside penalties. Jones had already warmed Ireland captain Alex Kendellen about his side's indiscipline which saw them concede 12 penalties in the first half.
England's second try came in the 46th minute after a penalty from Ireland failed to find touch. Ewan Richards touched down to make it 12-3.
It was a real blow to an Ireland side down to 14 players at the time. Neil Doak had got Ireland on the scoreboard with a penalty early in the second half.
10 minutes after his first try, Richards touched down for his second, and England's third. Again, it was England punishing some sloppy play from Ireland after a pass in the backline ended up on the ground and the blindside flanker kicked through into an empty backfield.
Ireland hit back in the 58th minute, just moments after England were reduced to 14 players when Nahum Merigan was sin-binned for a high tackle on Alex Kendellen.
Alex Soroka dotted down at the back of a superb driving maul, and then Nathan Doak kicked a brilliant conversion to cut the English lead to 17-10.
👊 Ireland U20s set the maul in motion for 𝗔𝗹𝗲� 𝗦𝗼𝗿𝗼𝗸𝗮 to crash over for his second try of the #U20SixNations! 🟢#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #IREvENG @PwCIreland pic.twitter.com/d5LtyqypzQ
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 1, 2021
England got their bonus point try in the 64th minute through Sam Riley. It was the hooker's fourth try of the tournament.
In the final 10 minutes, Ireland began to break the England defensive line, make yards, and force mistakes.
Eoin de Buitléar, just seconds on the pitch as a replacement for Jack Boyle, showed great strength to drive over for Ireland's second try. It reduced England's lead to 24-15. Cathal Forde's conversion kick missed just left, which was unfortunate as it would have earned Ireland a losing bonus point.
Ireland went into the game on the back of bonus point wins against Scotland and Wales, while England had beaten Scotland and France.
England will now have ambitions of winning the Grand Slam, while Ireland still have games against Italy and France.
Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile