Andrew Conway scored a hat-trick as Ireland cruised to a 57-14 victory over the USA at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Despite Ireland fielding a second-string side, the USA were impressive and showed improvement from last year’s 55-19 defeat in Harrison.
Ireland’s superior conditioning and fitness came to the fore in the latter stages of the game, which made the result look slightly more flattering in the end, especially seeing as the USA trailed by just ten at half-time.
Ireland came flying out of the blocks and got the scoring underway in the third minute. Captain Rhys Ruddock ran a nice line to break the Eagles’ defensive line and offloaded for Conway to finish in the left-hand corner.
In the 12th minute, the USA were right back in it when Joe Taufete’e crashed over off the back of a well-worked lineout move, with the hooker breaking at least three tackles before dotting down.
Soon afterwards, some slick hands from the Irish backline resulted in the ball being spread out to the right wing where Conway was on hand to grab his brace for a 14-7 lead after 17 minutes.
However, the USA were utilising the driving maul as an effective strategy and were rewarded with a penalty try from using that particular tactic in the 23rd minute.
Joey Carbery’s penalty in the 27th minute edged the hosts in front and then Jack Conan scored after the USA were guilty of slipping at least two tackles, although it was an impressive run from the number eight. Carbery added the conversion as the hosts took a slightly underwhelming 24-14 lead in to the interval.
It took 12 minutes after the break for the visitors’ defence to crack when dynamic lock Tadhg Beirne powered over after a series of powerful carries from the Irish forwards.
The fifth Irish try all began from a Conan charge-down and a nice run from Dave Kilcoyne before the hosts had the penalty advantage and Stuart McCloskey was found with a good cross-field kick, dotting down for his maiden international try.
Replacement Quinn Roux got in on the act in the 65th minute as he had too much power for the USA defence from close range after the Irish forwards had made good metres to make it 43-14.
Four minutes from time, a superb line break and offload from Garry Ringrose set up Conway for a deserved hat-trick as the Munster man went home with the man-of-the-match award.
A try from John Ryan topped off the 55-14 victory as the Irish backs and forwards showed slick hands to stretch the tiring USA defence and close out a convincing victory in the end.
Tries: Conway 3, Conan, Beirne, McCloskey, Roux, Ryan
Cons: Carbery 7
Tries: Taufete’e, Penalty Try