14-man Ireland suffer crushing world championship heartache
IRELAND 17-45 AUSTRALIA
Despite having only 14 men for most of the game, Ireland were well poised for a huge victory.
A 20th minute red card for Ireland U20 lock Ryan Baird ultimately proved too much for his teammates as they ran out of steam in the final 20 minutes.
Ireland led 17-10 after Stewart Moore whizzed in a wonder try, after 58 minutes, but the Junior Wallabies responded with three killer tries in the space of five minutes.
The Aussies went 10-0 up not long after Baird was given a red card for his high shot on outhalf Will Harrison. The Irish lads responded with a spell of possession and front-foot dominance that ended with Craig Casey sniping over.
Munster's young No.9 Craig Casey is a top, top prospect
Great score for Ireland U20s pic.twitter.com/HLkMsRRBbF
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 8, 2019
The start of the second half was all Ireland as they racked up 86% possession and 88% territory in the opening 15 minutes. Time and again they went close but the Aussies survived.
Ireland drew level, though, on 53 minutes when Jake Flannery kicked over a penalty and Ulster centre Stewart Moore made it 17-10 with a converted try following a mazy run.
"What a try from the Ulster centre!"
Australia U20s 10-17 IRELAND U20s
14-man Ireland lead by seven points in Santa Fe, thanks to Stewart Moore's try and Ben Healy's conversion!#FutureIsGreen #WorldRugbyU20s pic.twitter.com/OhS8vjZv1n
— eir Sport (@eirSport) June 8, 2019
That was as good as it got for Ireland, however.
Australia responded with tries from Isaac Lucas and winger Mark Nawaqanitawase before Brumbies lock Nick Frost claimed a restart and battered 60 metres up the left wing to break flagging Irish hearts.
Harrison then swan-dived under the sticks and dusted himself off to convert before Frost added the exclamation with his second try of the half.
The one-sided scoreline means Ireland will struggle, now, to reach the knockout stages.