Scotland (14) 30
Tries: Barry, Cullen (3), Crossley, Arundel Goals: Crossley, Kinloch
Ireland (12) 24
Tries: Walsh, Cowen, Eddis, McKiernan Goals: Flanigan(4)
Following their loss to Ireland under 16’s in Dublin, Scotland under 16’s turned up the heat on a typically cold northern afternoon to take a well fought win.
With both sets of fans still testing each other’s singing voices, it was Ireland who opened the scoring first. With a sprint race down the wing ultimately ending just outside the posts. The conversion making it 0-6 with just under 8 minutes played.
Some phases later and an Ireland mistake saw possession change hands and following the resultant Scotland scrum, Sam Arundel found some space, weaving towards the posts. The offload kept play alive and the ball was pushed out wide. With Lennox Barry waiting in the wings to secure the first points for Scotland, gathering a slightly low pass and keeping his composure to go over at short range.
A strong defensive line from Scotland saw Ireland’s attacks go unrewarded. Instead, Scotland were able to capitalise on their opponents’ mistake. Mason Cullen reading a loose pass well and gathering up the ball, used his pace to beat 2 defenders and into the open space. Going over for the first of what would be 3 tries by the deserving man of the match. Ryan Crossley easily added the 2 points to make it 10-6
It wasn’t long for another Scotland attack. This time it was Spike Birkett yards from the line following some well-structured attacking play from Scotland, which resulted in an Ireland infringement. Benji Kinloch got things restarted. A few hard carries and some lovely footwork from Ryan Crossley seen him add to his points tally. With the conversion slightly wide, the score looked set to stay at 14-6 at the break.
And the Scotland defence seemed to hold, after a sustained attacked from Ireland. But a quick reach forward from the tackle was all it took for Cowen to chalk up a try, when he taken down an arms length from the line. Flanigan then converting his second of the day to see the HT score settle at 14-12.
Refreshed and ready to go, again it was the Irish who would score first. Having the numbers out wide, the ball was quickly brought back inside and Ireland went over for an all too easy 4 points. The conversion taken with no incident.
With tries either side of HT Ireland looked hungry for more. But it was Scotland who would score next, through an excellent passage of play. An inch perfect kick from Benji Kinloch put Mason Cullen in for his 2nd and to bring things level.
It looked like Jack Boot might get down the wing for another 4 points, only to find his game cut short due to concussion. Ireland would go onto to score a converted try, which would be their last points of the game.
With 15 minutes remaining and Scotland behind by a converted score, the attack was on. It would be Mason Cullen, going through the unprepared Irish line easily to score. Following good hard runs from Sam Arundel and Jak Smith. Benji Kinloch slotted the kick in front of the posts to bring things level once again.
Shortly after, the Scottish defence stayed resolute under some pressure and were able to turn possession over. A couple of Irish infringements later Scotland would be within 15 metres of the line again. Benji Kinloch sold the Irish defence a lovely dummy pass to release the Captain, Sam Arundel into space and go over for the last try of the game. Benji would add the final 2 points leaving Scotland just minutes to defend their lead.
The Irish came out from the restart raring and pressured the Scottish ball carriers inside their own half. Ireland looked good to score again after some Scottish errors. However as the FT hooter blasted, the final passage of play was brought down in front of the Scottish posts and Scotland ran out winners 30-24.
This was a superb matchup with both teams displaying some great talents. Both teams will go home proud of their achievements, with plenty to work on for next time round.
Ben Jardine, Lennox Barry, Mason Cullen, Nathan Kosbab, Matty Ferguson, Benji Kinloch, Ryan Crossley, Robbie Richardson, Jack Boot, Louis Robinson, Lewis Richardson, Sam Arundel, Cameron Young
Interchange: Sam Sutherland, Spike Birkett, Joe Roper, Euan Duguid, Blaine Graham, Dylan Skibinski, Jack Smith
Ryan Walsh, Lee Walsh, Tom Greham, Liam Hayes, Evan Gorry, Cal Marrey, Patraig Flanigan, Ben McKiernan, Evan Coade, Tony Eddis, Jack MacEwan, James Downes, Josh Ericson
Interchange: Callum Fisher, Josh Green, Ben Montgomery, Marco Byrne, JAmes Cowen, Oisin Peelman-Moens