Irish rout Griquas in Bloem try feast
MATCH REPORT: The Emerging Ireland team proved far too strong for the beaten Currie Cup finalists Griquas.
The Irish outscored the South African province by eight tries to one in a 54-7 rout in the opening match of the Challenge Series in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
The visitors got their mini South African tour off to an impressive start and dominated from the outset.
Four first-half tries saw them take a commanding 28-7 lead into the half-time break.
Four unanswered second-half tries sealed the rout.
Griquas’s only try came after the Irish team’s flank David McCann was yellow-carded. He went from villain to hero, scoring the eighth and final try in the 79th minute.
While Griquas had some promising moments, they failed to convert the few opportunities they created.
This eight-try rout will have done nothing for those who harboured doubts about the standard of opposition Emerging Ireland would face over these three games, but a young side played some excellent rugby en route to a facile victory.
Flyhalf Jack Crowley kicked 12 points in a confident display from the talented Cork man.
Max Deegan led from the front as captain with his powerful ball-carrying regularly, putting his side on the front foot.
Tom Ahern and Joe McCarthy were powerful and dynamic in the second row, as the talented locks wreaked havoc around the breakdown.
Having had very few training sessions together, not to mention the long-haul flight to South Africa, Easterby will be pleased by the cohesion and accuracy of his side.
However, the dire nature of the opposition must be taken into account.
Emerging Ireland settled into their stride after an understandably scrappy opening, as they took some time to get to grips with the South African heat and altitude.
As soon as they found their groove, though, the tourists proved too good for the Griquas, who struggled to deal with their pace and power.
For Emerging Ireland
Tries: Penny 2, Baloucoune, Wycherley, Moore, Daly, McCann, Nash
Cons: Crowley 6, Flannery
Griquas: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Reagan Oranje, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Bobby Alexander, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Werner Gouws, 6 Niel Otto (Captain), 5 Albert Liebenberg, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Justin Forwood, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Melusi Mtabela, 18 Janu Botha, 19 Godfrey Muzanargwo, 20 Michael Amiras, 21 Johan Mulder, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Ashlon Davids, 24 Francois Staples, 25 Thabo Ndimande, 26 Vaughen Isaacs.
Emerging Ireland: 15 Shane Daly, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Jamie Osbourne, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Robert Baloucoune, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Nathan Doak, 8 Max Deegan (Captain), 7 Scott Penny, 6 David McCann, 5 Tom Ahern, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Thomas Clarkson, 2 Tom Stewart, 1 Josh Wycherley.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Michael Milne, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Brian Deeny, 20 John Hodnett, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Antoine Frisch.
Referee: Morné Ferreira
Assistant referees: Christopher Allison, Jaco Kotze