Match report: Ireland 'A' edge out Scotland 'A' for Plate
PA Sport
June 2, 2007

Ireland A held on for a dramatic Barclays Churchill Cup Plate victory at Twickenham at the expense of Scotland A.

Frank Murphy and Roger Wilson scored the tries for Michael Bradley's side to establish an early lead which they held onto despite Scotland's last-ditch efforts.

Scott Lawson and Thom Evans scored tries to keep Frank Hadden's men in the hunt for victory, but Calum MacRae missed a conversion which would have given them a late lead.

It meant consecutive Plate victories for Ireland A after beating England Saxons last year and claiming third in the tournament.

Scotland reached the final last year and MacRae opened the scoring with a penalty for Scotland after Jonathan Sexton had struck the upright for the Irish.

Hadden's men then failed to hold onto their lead, although they were contributors to the two early tries for the Irish.

Murphy charged down Rob Crystie's kick in the ninth minute for the first, while a stray pass beyond the deadball area led to the second. Ireland maintained pressure from the resulting scrum and Wilson went over.

Sexton converted the second of the two.

Scotland's response was immediate, with the referee requiring a television replay to confirm Lawson had gone over in the corner straight from the kick-off. MacRae converted from the touchline.

Sexton's penalty put some light between the teams but the scoring dried up when the teams took a one-minute water break to counter the fierce heat.

It took something special get the scoreboard ticking again, MacRae kicking a penalty from his own half to reduce the deficit to two points going into the break.

Ryan Caldwell was yellow carded just before the interval for a clash with Mark Rennie, but Scotland failed to capitalise while he was in the cooler.

Ireland were back to their full compliment when MacRae had the chance to edge the Scots ahead, but he struck the post with a penalty.

A glut of replacements on both sides did little to encourage a second-half spectacle, but a flowing move from Ireland extended their lead when the ball was worked to Keith Earls in the corner on the hour mark.

Ian Keatley added the extra points to leave Scotland needing a converted try and a penalty for victory.

MacRae provided the penalty with 10 minutes remaining, Evans provided the try but MacRae could not add the final conversion. Keatley struck a post with a late penalty.

Ireland A: 22 (15)
Tries: Murphy, Wilson, Earls
Cons: Sexton, Keatley
Pen: Sexton

Scotland A: 21 (13)
Tries: Lawson, Evans
Con: McRae
Pens: McRae (3)

Scotland A: Simon Danielli; Simon Webster, Calum MacRae, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans; Phil Godman, Rob Chrystie; Alasdair Dickinson, Scott Lawson, Craig Smith, Andrew Hall, Mark Rennie, Alasdair Strokosch, Johnnie Beattie, Donnie Macfadyen (c)

Replacements: John Barclay; Nick De Luca, Craig Hamilton, Fergus Thomson, Moray Low, Mark McMillan, Steve Swindall

Ireland A: Johne Murphy; Paul McKenzie, Darren Cave, Seamus Mallon, Keith Earls; Jonathan Sexton, Frank Murphy; John Lyne, John Fogarty captain, Michael Ross, Ryan Caldwell, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Roger Wilson, Johnny O'Connor.

Subs: Sean Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Devin Toner, John O'Sullivan, Chris Keane, Ian Keatley, Fergus McFadden

Referee: Andrew Small (England)

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