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Try Scoring A Debut For Earls

20th May 2007 By Munster Rugby

Keith Earls marked his international A debut with a 32nd minute try in Ireland’s 39-20 win over Canada in Exeter’s Sandy Park on Saturday evening.

Keith Earls marked his international A debut with a 32nd minute try in Ireland’s 39-20 win over Canada in Exeter’s Sandy Park on Saturday evening.

Despite playing well in some phases of the game, and coming back from a 17-6 deficit at half-time, to take an early second-half lead 22-20, Canada fell 39-20 to Ireland ‘A’ in its first game of the 2007 Barclays Churchill Cup in Exeter on Saturday evening.

In front of 4,000 at the very fine Sandy Park in Exeter, home of the Exeter Chiefs, Ireland ‘A’ outside-half Jeremy Staunton racked up fourteen of his sides points with a try, a penalty and three conversions in a six to two try victory that didn’t reflect the whole story. Canada fought well throughout the game making some telling tackles and keeping shape to its game despite Irish pressure. But in the end, the power of Ireland ‘A’s forwards who won line-outs against the throw and drove its own line-outs with authority, paved the way for the Ireland ‘A’ win.

While Ireland may have used its forwards to effect, Canada scored two very well constructed tries in the backs, which often had the better of its opponents. Craig Culpan’s and Dean van Camp’s tries pulled Canada back into the game and showed the capabilities of Canada’s backs. However, a great deal of aimless kicking didn’t help Canada’s cause in the first half when erratic kicks fed their opponents unnecessary possession.

Ireland earned the first penalty of the game at 2 minutes for Canada going over the top, after the forwards, inspired by their national anthems had had a little scrap to let off steam. Ireland ‘A’ outside half and international Staunton hit the 35-metre attempt off the crossbar.

After some fine phases of play with open-side Nanyak Dala looking lively, Canada found itself under pressure when wing Dean van Camp found himself caught in possession and failed to find touch while in the hands of Irish tacklers. This led to Ireland ‘A’ running the ball back at Canada and finally driving lock Ryan Caldwell over the line for a 5-0 lead.

James Pritchard cut the lead at 16 minutes when he struck true on his second attempt at goal after missing an earlier one at 9 minutes: 5-3.

Canada ran the ball at every opportunity and indeed looked the superior set of backs, but lost the ball in the 24th minute and when Ireland began running it. Canada’s defense came up too quickly allowing Irish centre Darren Cave to break a tackle and sprint clear and score wide out. 10-3.

At thirty minutes Nanyak Dala who had enjoyed a fine first game to that point had to leave the game with a leg problem replaced by Adam Kleeberger, who took over where Dala left off and had a good game till the end.

At 32 minutes Ireland ‘A’ used its forwards to take the ball into Canadian territory, then the ball went left where a skip pass found streaking wing Keith Earls who went over in the corner. Staunton converted: 17-3.

At 37 minutes James Pritchard hit his second penalty when Ireland ‘A’ had been deemed offside following a fine Canadian attack. 17-6 at half-time.

When the second half began Canada came out with guns blazing and with the half only two minutes old, fullback Mike Pyke took a kick deep in his half and after beating a couple of tackles, set off up field at full pace. When he hit the Irish 40 meter line he gave to centre Craig Culpan tearing up on his outside and the Meraloma player, stepped inside and outside two tacklers and scored under the posts. Pritchard converted: 17-13.

Canada now full of confidence and purpose nearly scored again when Pritchard chipped through and trapped the Ireland ‘A’ fullback on his own line. A concerted effort by the forwards failed to gain the try line until a dropped pass ended what had been a hopeful foray.

Canada kept pressing and after winning a line-out, outside-half Ryan Smith flipped a pass out to Spicer who fed Pritchard, in from his opposite wing, and he fed Dean van Camp for the big Port Perry man to score in the corner. Pritchard ably converted and Canada deservedly claimed a 20-17 lead at 53 minutes.

No sooner had Canada gained the lead than Ireland ‘A’ came right back with a try by substitute fullback John Heartey who scored when outside-half, ten-cap international holder Staunton chipped a ball through for Hearty to beat Canada’s defense to the ball. The referee Andrew Small, after checking with TMO Tony Spreadbury, declared the try. 22-20.

Ireland ‘A’ continued its pressure and at 62 minutes after taking a kick to touch for a penalty, Ireland threw long for international flanker Johnny O’Conner to touch down. Staunton converted: 29-20.

Staunton added a penalty at 70 minutes after Canada was declared marginally offside at a maul: 32-20.

Canada responded with a powerful drive from a line-out and replacement prop Kevin Takchuk took the ball to the line. Referee Small wasn’t sure of the try and went to the TMO, and after a long pause, declared "No try!"

A gutted Canada came back from centre for the scrum-down and nearly scored again by forcing the maul over, but to no avail.

Ireland ‘A’ then worked its way into Canadian territory for Staunton to score after his forwards had driven the maul and the ball came out. Staunton deftly stepped inside his man and scored. He converted taking the score to 39-20

Ireland A: Sexton, McKenzie, Cave, Mallon, Earls, Staunton, Keane, Hogan, Fogarty, Ross, Caldwell, Farley, Keogh, O’Connor, Wilson. Replacements: Hearty for Sexton (47), McFadden for Mallon (71), Campbell for Keane (70), Cronin for Fogarty (79), Fitzpatrick for Ross (58), Gannon for Farley (47), Muldoon for Keogh (75).

Canada: Pyke, Prichard, Culpan, Spicer, Van Camp, Smith, Williams, D. Pletch, Riordan, Franklin, Jackson, Burak, Yukes, Dala, McKeen. Replacements: Fairhurst for Williams (80), Tkachuk for D. Pletch (49), M. Pletch for Franklin (71), Carpenter for Yukes (62), Kleeberger for Dala (28).



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