GLOUCESTER flanker Ross Moriarty was shown a straight red card in England Under-20s’ 16-15 defeat against their Irish counterparts in Athlone.
The young Cherry and Whites back rower, son of Gloucester defence coach Paul, was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Ireland scrum-half Luke McGrath after 22 minutes.
It was a night to forget for Nigel Davies’ young charges as Moriarty’s club-mate Elliott Stooke was shown a yellow card for pulling down a maul late on.
Fly-half Henry Slade scored all of England’s points following five penalties but it was not enough as a late try from wing Rory Scholes and pressure conversion by Tom Daly secured victory.
It was England who got the first points on the board through the boot of the Exeter Chiefs man, who punished Ireland for an infringement at the breakdown.
The hosts had the chance to level with 16 minutes on the clock, but outside centre Daly pushed his kick wide.
England’s task was made tougher when Moriarty was shown a straight red and Daly levelled up from the resulting kick.
But England showed resolve and regained the lead with 28 minutes played, Slade again converting.
He added his third penalty five minutes later to make to 9-3, the final score of the half.
Ireland came out firing after the first 40 and reduced the deficit to three points early on, Daly scoring his second penalty of the night to make it 9-6 to England.
With 50 played, England’s determination earned them a fourth penalty of the night, Slade again converting the kick.
With England 12-6 up Ireland were reduced to 14 men when kicker Daly was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball off his feet.
Slade added three points from the resulting penalty with his metronomic left boot.
Minutes later and it was England with the man advantage, full back Robbie Henshaw followed Daly to the sin for a dangerous tackle on opposite number Ben Howard.
Ireland continued to apply pressure though and wing Scholes scored the hosts third penalty to make it 15-9.
It was not long before both sides had 13 men on the field after England Stooke was sent to the bin.
With ten minutes to play Ireland started to exploit their two-man advantage, and after some steady build up play, the ball eventually found its way to Scholes who dived over in the corner.
The try made the score 15-14 to England, but from a difficult angle the impressive Daly converted and Ireland held out to record their first Six Nations win over England since 2010.
England Captain Jack Clifford said: “It was an extremely tough game.
“We knew it would be when we went down to 14 men but I thought that we managed them well and played the ball into the right areas.
“There are a lot of tired bodies in the changing room – we gave it everything but it wasn’t quite enough, fair play to Ireland.
“Focus now switches to France and we’ll be looking to right the wrongs from tonight.”