Young Rathnure man Charlie Tector topped off an incredible U-20’s six nations championship by helping his team to a Grand Slam title in front of an ecstatic 8,000 strong crowd in Cork’s Musgrave Park on Sunday evening…
In what was a party atmosphere all night in Cork, the Ireland under u-20’steam did not disappoint running in nine majestic tries to thrill those watching on from the stand and terraces.
An incredible five-match unbeaten run led to Captain Reuben Crothers deservedly hoisting the Six Nations trophy proudly into the sky in front of his elated teammates, including one very excited Wexfordian, Charlie Tector.
Tector started brightly from the off, starting the game with a deep dropkick into the Scots half immediately pressuring the Scots into a horrendous kick into touch that gave the Irish forwards great field position with a lineout. A feature of Charlie’s play is his organisational skills, which one will hear constantly in the ref’s microphone as he barks out the orders to his forwards and scrum-half.
He set up a nice break with a silky pass, with possession leading to a penalty which he expertly kick into the 22 from a tight angle. Resulting pressure led to a well worked forward dominated try with only 4 minutes gone on the clock. It was the perfect start for Ireland to banish any nerves they had on such a momentous day for them. Tector nudged over a handy conversion; a start that anyone would hope for.
Soon after, the Rathnure native was on the rampage through midfield as he made a clean break, making about 20 metres and beating many would-be Scottish defenders in the process.
He kicked a nice penalty punt into the corner before being on the receiving end of a late tackle in attack. Never short of a few words, he left the referee in no doubt as to what he thought of the hit with some friendly banter. Charlie Tector was on the attack shortly after and with some nice hands Ireland scored a beautifully finished try on the left wing. This time, the very difficult conversion was unfortunately missed by Charlie.
The young Wexfordian thumped a lovely clearance kick from his 22 right up to the Scottish 10-metre line shortly after. It was a real beauty and something that his juggernaut of a forward pack would have been delighted with. He was in the thick of the action again, showing everyone that even out-halves can scrap for a loose ball too, diving down on a loose Scots pass and clearing it up.
Ireland were down town once again and hungry for another try which they soon got from emerging Ulster superstar Jude Postlethwaite after a fortunate passage of play.
Tector nailed a very difficult conversion from far out on the left, showing his prowess from the tee. Scotland at this stage were a six’s and seven’s and Ireland were unfortunate with a knock-on with the line at their mercy. The Scottish No.8 decided he was going to pick on our man from the Blackstairs, but Tector is not the usual 10 in that he’s a big lump.
The resultant contact left the no.8 red faced after a bit of sneaky theft by Tector who easily stripped the ball from his grasp.
Ireland found themselves in familiar territory deep inside the opposition ’22 and on the warpath.Charlie under advantage cheekily and cleverly chipped a kick for himself only for the ball to bounce back over his head in the in goal area but was picked up by the Ireland No.8 Culhane who dotted down brilliantly to score. Tector slotted a nice conversion. Ireland were now already in cruise control and had the bonus point in the bag.
The young Wexford man was quickly on a rescue mission, showing a top attitude to track back and clean up a dangerous Scottish kick. Ireland advanced up field and were rewarded, when slick hands by Charlie who intellingently spotted a late burst by Carson, leaving the Banbridge bulldozer to score with ease from 5 metres out.
The Rathnure man kicked a testing conversion straight over the black spot.
This left Ireland in an unassailable lead of 33-0 up at half time.
The second half started with Tector on defensive duty with a good tackle on the beefy Scottish first centre followed up by a very impressive tackle on the even beefier Scottish second row.
The young Wexford native played the game like any other and showed his maturity with a lovely kick from the Scottish 10-metre line deep into their 22.
Shortly after, he floated a gorgeous flat pass for Chay Mullins to run onto which looked like it could have the Scots in all sorts of bother only for Mullin to become isolated after a nice half break.
Tector used his physique to attack the line and make a good rumble well beyond the gain line. Unfortunately, this latest attack broke down.
A fantastic break by Mullins down the left wing led to a piece of individual brilliance by Tector’s half-back partner Galweigian Matthew Devine who grubbered between two Scots and collecting to dot down in the corner. Devine has provide Tector with amazing service throughout the tournament and they proved an exciting pairing.
Tector unfortunately missed the tough conversion.
Scotland finally went on the offensive and showed a bit of promise with one of the backs beating two Irish defenders on the outside, but he wasn’t getting past the Rathnure man who gallantly took the Scotsman down and the pass inside was speculative leading to a knock on.
This was the last big play from Tector and he was called ashore receiving a rapturous applause on his trek to the bench.
Ireland went on to score three more tries and defeat Scotland on a ridiculously impressive scoreline of 59-5.
The final whistle was greeted with fabulous scenes on the pitch and in the stands.
As the Irish players later walked up to receive their winners medals, a magnificent wide smile could be seen on Charlie’s face, a moment that will live with him forever, one of his proudest ever memories and with a bunch of young men that will be lifelong friends of his after this brilliant occasion.
Up stepped captain Reuben Crothers who jubilantly lifted the trophy and like any young lads should when they win something this big they went wild in celebration.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to write articles on Charlie, watching masterful performances from this extremely capable and talented young man. From his post-match interviews, he seems like an absolute gent who is well-grounded.
As one of our own, Wexford will be extremely proud of him. Not too many Wexford people can wake up in the morning with a Six Nations winners medal beside them every day.
He has incredibly ended the tournament, ending the tournament with an individual accolade as the top points scorer. We hope that he has every success in the future on his venture to becoming a professional player.
I believe he’s been running after sheep on the family farm in recent days, who are probably giving him a lot more hassle than the Scots did, but hey, he’s running after them as Grand Slam Six Nations Champion, and good would that feel?!
By Byron Jones
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