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Simon Easterby has special praise for two youngsters following impressive Emerging Ireland victory

Emerging Ireland head coach Simon Easterby praised his side’s impressive eight-try performance, as they got their Toyota Challenge off to a strong start.

he Griquas offered little resistance, but even still, Emerging Ireland were ruthless in putting them to the sword.

With the pack providing a solid platform to play off, the backs ran riot, as they sliced open the South African’s defence with alarming ease.

“The amount of work the players have put in to give a good performance today has been incredible,” Easterby said following the 54-7 win.

“They’ve all bought into the way we’re trying to play the game, the way we prepare. This team had a chance to go out and play, they were really well prepared by the other boys. The coming together of the 34 players has been really impressive and that showed in our performance.

“There are plenty of things we’d like to tidy up on but as a first hit out, we’re pretty pleased with the way the players did.”

Impressive young half-back duo Nathan Doak and Jack Crowley further highlighted their potential with a composed showing that was full of invention.

Easterby was impressed with how they controlled proceedings.

“That was a big part of the preparation, making sure that we managed the game well in different conditions,” he said.

“Playing at altitude and also it was quite warm, we knew we wanted to make sure the players played in the right areas and I think Doaky and Jack did really well in that respect.

“That was one of the main reasons we were on the front foot for a lot of the first half. There was one dodgy exit in the second half and they put us under pressure but on the whole, we managed the game well, played in the right areas.

“We played with ball in hand at the right times and also made good decisions when to kick. Both sets of halfbacks did really well.

“Michael (McDonald) came on a bit later and added zip, and Jake Flannery did really well when he came on for 10 minutes. We’re really pleased with the way those guys managed the game.”

Max Deegan, who captained Emerging Ireland to victory, marked a strong showing with a try, as he led from the front.

The Leinster No 8 was delighted with how quickly his side gelled with such little time together.

“That’s a credit to the lads,” Deegan added.

“We’d done a good bit of work but we probably haven’t had as much time on the pitch as we would have liked because of travel and things like that.

“The lads have done their work off the pitch as well, watching clips and doing those bits of homework and meetings. It added up to a really good, pleasing performance that everyone put out there.

“It’s definitely something new for a lot of lads playing here. The altitude really has an effect on your lungs. With the heat and physicality of the teams, there’s a lot of elements that a lot of lads hadn’t faced before.

“I’m proud of the lads. As Si said, we came together seven days ago and to put in a performance like that, nail the things we worked on, and bring that element of physicality on top of it, really proud of the lads.”

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