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Boyland makes England U20 bow in Ireland defeat

Blake Boyland came off the bench to make his England U20 debut in Friday night’s 39-21 defeat to reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens.

Ireland led 29-7 at the break scoring tries through Alex Soroka, Hayden Hyde, Thomas Ahern and Ethan McIlroy, while England crossed via George Hammond.

Second half scores from Hugh Tizard and Theo Dan gave England hope but tries via Max O’Reilly and Ahern won the game for Ireland.

It was a first loss for England having defeated France and Scotland in the opening two rounds, while Ireland remain unbeaten.

Ireland started brightly and sent over an early penalty through Jack Crowley but England responded soon after with Hammond crashing through for a try which George Barton converted.

The visitors had a try ruled out by the TMO for an earlier knock on, but they weren't to be denied with Soroka bundling over in the corner after a period of sustained pressure.

Ireland had a second with Hyde going over after a fine offload, moments earlier kept the ball in play and Crowley converted for 15-7.

A third followed through Ahern who crashed over as Ireland showed great patience to work their way through England's defence and Ireland had a bonus point on the stroke of half time, with McIlroy diving over in the corner after a flowing team move.

Tizzard went over soon after the break but O’Reilly had a fifth Ireland try after searing down the left wing to cross.

Dan bundled over off the back of a driving maul but Ahern's try helped seal victory.

Head coach Alan Dickens said: "The performance wasn’t up to the standard of the previous two games. We were slow to start and even though we scored the first try we always seemed to be chasing the game once they took the lead.

"We didn’t slow their ball down, they played on the front foot and that put us under pressure defensively and we conceded some soft tries

"One of the big learnings will be to manage the game and to know when to play expansive rugby and when to control it. That will come with maturity and game understanding the more competitive fixtures we play.

"We have two games left in the tournament, we want to play well in those fixtures, continue to develop and hopefully finish with two victories. There were positives to take from tonight and we’ll focus on them and take it into the Wales game."