Friday 21 October 2016

McPhillips guides Irish to second World Cup semi-final

Ireland U20s 35 Georgia U20s 7

Johnny McPhillips (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Johnny McPhillips (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)

Ireland will renew their World Cup rivalry with Argentina, this time in the U20 semi-final after making Georgia pay for an early red card in labouring to victory at Manchester yesterday.

Coach Nigel Carolan made thirteen changes and was forced to withdraw his captain James Ryan from the bench due to a dead leg, removing his primary leader.

Georgia pulverised Ireland at the first completed scrum and scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze punched through the weak tackle of Sean O'Connor for David Modzgvrishvili to convert in the sixth minute.

The immediate response was bossed by scrum-half Niall Saunders and impressive handling put wing Hugo Keenan in for a fine try.

Referee Craig Evans sent-off flanker Mikheil Babunashvili for his kick-out at O'Connor just before Johnny McPhillips landed the conversion.

The Irish moved in front from Johnny McPhillips penalties in the 14th and 17th minutes.

They made hard work of progress as their carriers were felled by ruthless Georgian defence before McPhillips stepped inside Modzgvrishvili and converted for 20-7 in the 37th minute.

The Georgian scrum was a problem the Irish couldn't solve as they also failed to make proper use of the one-man advantage.

McPhillips kicked a 54th minute penalty and Greg Jones was the difference-maker in creating the hole for Terry Kennedy to finish with ease at the end of the third quarter.

The absence of Bill Johnston became increasingly obvious as McPhillips activated a predictable attack, never once using the boot to apply pressure.

The bonus-point try was denied to Stephen Kerins when another replacement Shane Daly's pass was seen to be forward.

It finally arrived from loose-head prop Andrew Porter in the last minute.

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