Louth native McDonald helps Australia U20s to thumping win over Italy

IRISH-BORN SCRUM-half Michael McDonald helped the junior Wallabies to a winning start in this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship as they powered to a 36-12 victory over Italy.

Registered with Dundalk RFC before his family moved to Australia when he was 13, McDonald has earned himself a regular starting berth with the green and gold age grade side. Today, his sharp offload created the breakthrough try for Will Harris in the seventh minute of the curtain-raiser in Santa Fe.

McDonald was put under pressure behind a creaking Australia scrum as half-time approached, but Italy were unable to make the set-piece advantage count. Noah Lelesio pierced through the middle and raced from deep in his own half before releasing a grubber for Mark Nawaqanitawase to chase. The flying wing didn’t quite make the try-line, but Australia recycled to set up Lachlan Lonergan for a try that gave Australia a commanding 17-0 half-time lead.

After Triston Reilly extended the lead before the hour mark, McDonald set number 10 Will Harrison away through a midfield gap and he provided Lonergan’s second try.