Ireland U20s head coach Noel McNamara insists that his side still have plenty to work on following their 42-26 win over England in the World Championship on Tuesday.
It was an ideal start to the campaign in Santa Fe for Ireland to follow on from their Grand Slam win earlier this win but they will be careful not to get too carried away considering their 11th place finish at last year’s tournament.
However, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game, especially in attack with the men in green crossing the try line six times.
McNamara was quick to praise his side following the game.
“I think when you look at the game itself and you factor in the quality of the opposition, you obviously have to be pleased with coming out the right side of the result. I thought the quality of effort that the boys showed and their endeavor throughout the game was absolutely fantastic.
“Obviously we made life difficult for ourselves at times particularly either side of half-time which usually has been a period where we’ve been quite strong but I thought the resilience to dig in and find a solution was absolutely first class.”
The side have very little time to reflect on the performance as they face into a four-day turnaround before they take on Australia in the second of their Pool B encounters. The head coach confirmed that Ireland will be without back-rower Azur Allison who was removed from the game after 24 minutes due to a head injury.
The Aussies were very impressive in the Pool’s first game on Saturday, sweeping aside the challenge of Italy on a scoreline of 36-12.
Their will be another narrative running through the game also considering the Australian scrum-half is Louth native, Michael McDonald.
McNamara feels there is plenty of room for improvement ahead of the clash.
“There are a number of areas where we feel we can be better and that’s not a bad place to be when you consider we scored 42 points and had a 16-point win. From that perspective, huge positives.
“It presented us with challenges and I think at times our tactical approach could have been a little bit better in how we managed those periods when England were down a player and that’s something we’ll certainly look to improve upon over the next game or two.
“There were a couple of times where we didn’t exert pressure in the right part of the field. We invited some pressure on ourselves and conceded a couple of tries really that we wouldn’t be happy with.”
He knows that Ireland will have to be at their very best in they are to come away with the win.
“One of the things that strikes you is how good their defence is, how physical they are as a side, very strong pack in particular. If you look at their last three games they’ve only conceded two tries over the course of those three games against Fiji, New Zealand and Italy and the two tries that they conceded against Italy came in the last 10 minutes.
“That gives an indication of the challenge that they’re going to pose, particularly, in terms of their defence. Their captain, Fraser McReight, is exceptionally strong over the ball.
“There are going to be a few areas where we’re really going to have to be at the top of our game if we want to come out on the right side of the result.”