BUCCANEERS U-20’s 38 NAAS U-20’s 15



In perfect pitch and weather conditions at Dubarry Park, Buccaneers U-20’s scored a bonus point 38-15 victory over Naas in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier 2 League match on Sunday. Overall, Buccs were the better-balanced outfit and dictated the exchanges for the majority of a lively and entertaining contest.

Buccs made three personnel changes and a number of positional switches with Robbie Byrne replacing the injured Luca Giles in the pack while Jack Crampton and Yishai Avrahami debuted in a realigned backline. Centre Crampton has transferred from Naas who had the former Pirate Koronato Kiripati at hooker.

Buccs set the tone early with some wonderful attacking play started by Avrahami who tore down the right flank. Jack Sheridan halted his progress just short of the try-line but Charlie Byrne led the supporting cavalry and he off-loaded to Luke Balsiger who sent Kieran Egan over for a third minute try converted by Ruaidhri Fallon.

Crampton was caught in possession by his former teammates six minutes later and Ethan Travers slotted the resultant penalty. Buccs responded just as quickly with Orrin Burgess powering through at the posts for a try. Fallon’s conversion put Buccs 14-3 ahead after just 15 minutes.

Close to the half-hour mark, a brace of Travers dummies wrong-footed the Pirates defence and the visiting captain strode in for a smartly taken try which he also converted. Burgess’ strong running was a constant threat to the visitors and he was unlucky that a couple of breaks forward did not gain reward being especially unfortunate when Fallon’s floated pass drifted a shade forward. With the final act of the half, Travers had a poor penalty kick and so Naas trailed 14-10 at the interval.

As they had done in the opening half, Buccs restarted on the offensive following the change of ends. They soon forced a number of close-in penalties for which they opted for scrums and this spell of pressure was rewarded when Balsiger surged in for a 48th minute try with Fallon adding the conversion.

Burgess, who constantly made ground when in possession, then notched his second try as the Pirates pinned their opponents back. Fallon duly converted this 56th minute bonus point try and soon added a penalty to push the Athlone side 31-10 to the good.

Naas continued to battle and fashioned a fine unconverted try by Conor Halpenny but Buccaneers had the final say with a swift riposte. Tom Shine’s thumping tackle on fullback Sheridan dislodged the ball and Crampton swooped for his side’s fifth try. Fallon maintained his 100% success rate from placed balls with this conversion to complete the 38-15 scoreline.

Buccs were the superior outfit based on the influence of their front five where Charlie Byrne was magnificent in a formidable front row trio. The ‘Supermacs’ second row pairing of Cian McCann and Fionn McDonnell put in a huge amount of work as did the lively backrowers. Burgess tormented the opposition every time he was in possession while Fallon’s line and tee kicking was imperious. Naas, who defeated Dublin University the previous week, made many changes throughout as they strove to find their best lineup while Buccs were more cautious in utilising their bench until the closing stages.

BUCCANEERS:- J.Blair; Y.Avrahami, T.Shine (captain), J.Crampton, O.Burgess; R.Fallon, D.Colgan; K.Egan, O.Dolan, C.Byrne; F.McDonnell, C.McCann; R.Byrne, G.Daly and L.Balsiger. Replacements:- J.Connolly (for Egan), B.Daly (for Avrahami), J.Dunican (for R.Byrne), S.Treacy (for Colgan), C.Brill (for Dolan), A.Cepi (for G.Daly), K.Egan (for C.Byrne) and D.Colgan (for Burgess).

NAAS:- J.Sheridan; U.Casserly, J.Forde, S.Fata, J.Bullinga; E.Travers (captain), O.Cawley; S.Quinn, K.Kiripati, J.Choiseul; P.McMahon, H.Masterson; R.O’Gorman, A.McCormack and O.Kelly. Replacements used:- D.McDonnell, S.Tipper, D.Farrell, C.Halpenny and C.Sheridan.

Referee:- Michael Honan.