Ireland power past USA in try-fest
REPORT: Keith Earls scored two tries and had three assists as Ireland opened their summer tour with a 55-19 victory over a the spirited United States in New Jersey.
Joe Schmidt fielded a team mixed with experience but mostly youth, as 21-year-old pair Jacob Stockdale and James Ryan enjoyed try-scoring debuts Stateside and Dave Heffernan, Andrew Porter and Rory Scannell also won their first caps.
It was a night of firsts at a very humid Red Bull Arena where Rhys Ruddock captained Ireland for the first time, becoming the country's 105th captain at Test level, and Stockdale, Ryan, Niall Scannell, Jack Conan and Luke McGrath all claimed their maiden international tries.
A brace from the electric Earls - taking his Ireland tally to 24 tries and seven for this season alone - helped the visitors lead 29-7 at half-time, the only real blip being American lock Nick Civetta's try after charging down Joey Carbery.
Tiernan O'Halloran outwaited the final United States' defender in a break three minutes into the game, finding Earls for the opening try, 5-0. Finding a rhythm with ball in hand afterwards, the Eagles did well to maintain possession inside Ireland's half.
While AJ MacGinty opted against a kickable penalty from a high tackle on Ben Cima, David Tameilau had a gain-line breaking run at the 10 six minutes later nullified by a penalty in the following offload.
From the midfield lineout, Jacob Stockdale found space on the far wing to dot down in the corner. Martin Iosefo made a try-saving tackle with a half-field chase moments later, but a failed clearance kick resulted in a return in space and offload from Kieran Marmion to Earls, 17-0.
Ireland was not forced to kick much from its own end, but Civetta surprised flyhalf Joey Carbery in the 20th minute when the Irishman looked to get his side away from its try line. The lock charged down the attempt inside the 22 and was the first to the ball to take it over the line for the Eagles' only try of the first half.
A two-try blitz in five minutes extended Ireland's lead to 29-7 at halftime, as hooker Niall Scannell dotted down from a maul in the 31st minute and Earls found an offload after a long run at the try line for Marmion to score.
The Eagles made several substitutions in the pack at the break, though Ireland scored again from the scrum four minutes into the half via Jack Conan, 36-7. Quill replicated Civetta's try a minute later, however, as Ireland looked to clear from its own five-meter line. MacGinty converted his second for the 36-14 score line.
Mike Te'o had a chip kick near midfield recovered by Hilterbrand as the U.S. looked to counter from a kick, and sustained pressure outside the try line in the ensuing minutes resulted in Matyas dummying across the paint, 36-19.
The scoring stopped there for the Eagles, as substitutes James Ryan, Luke McGrath, and Simon Zebo, respectively, brought the final score to 55-19.
For United States:
Tries: Civetta, Quill, Matyas.
Cons: MacGinty 2
Tries: Earls 2, Stockdale, Scannell, Marmion, Conan, Ryan, McGrath, Zebo.
Cons: Ringrose, Carbery 2, Scannell 2
USA: 15 Ben Cima, 14 Mike Te’o, 13 Ryan Matyas, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Martin Iosefo, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Nate Augspurger (captain), 8 David Tameilau, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 John Quill, 5 Nic Civetta, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Peter Malcolm, 1 Ben Tarr
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Joe Taufete’e, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Matthew Jensen, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Shaun Davies, 22 Will Magie, 23 Bryce Campbell
Ireland: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 James Ryan, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Simon Zebo
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Chris Assmus (Canada)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)