Ireland's Kelleher 'stakes a claim' after quadruple in USA rout

·2-min read
Ireland's Ronan Kelleher took his Test try tally up to five in 13 Ireland matches during the US win

Hooker Ronan Kelleher said he has "staked a claim" for a starting Ireland shirt after scoring four tries in Saturday's 71-10 win over the United States at the Aviva Stadium.

Kelleher crossed twice either side of the break as the hosts dominated with 10 efforts against the country ranked 16th in the world.

The 23-year-old is behind Ulster's Rob Herring in the Andy Farrell's pecking order but spent a week with the British and Irish Lions last month during a training camp in the Channel Islands.

"It (the four tries) will absolutely live long in the memory but most importantly it was for the team," he told Irish broadcaster RTE.

"I really enjoyed my week in Jersey with them but came back in here with a job to do in these two games and I was really looking forward to try to stake my claim for the number two jersey," he added.

Home coach Farrell handed out maiden Test starts to four players in prop Tom O'Toole, flanker Nick Timoney, centre James Hume and winger Robert Baloucoune after last weekend's win over Japan.

The US' Gary Gold made three changes from Sunday's loss to England as hooker Joe Taufete'e, back-rower Hanco Germishuys and winger Christian Dyer started.

Despite controlling possession for the opening quarter of an hour the Eagles trailed after Carberry kicked a penalty for the home side.

Sevens specialist Baloucoune then celebrated his international bow with the best effort of proceedings finishing from 50 metres out.

A 21st minute three-pointer from Luke Carty, who was born in Athlone and qualifies for the US thanks to his grandmother, were the visitors' only points of the opening 40 minutes before the floodgates opened.

Kelleher's first half efforts sandwiched Timoney crashing over before the break.

Kelleher clinched his third five minutes after the interval from a rolling maul to make it 38-3.

With 25 minutes left the US' Riekert Hattingh was sent off for high tackle on Kelleher, who played amateur rugby for Lansdowne a stone's throw away from the Aviva Stadium, in midfield before the former Ireland U20s front-rower clinched his fourth of proceedings.

Stuart McCloskey, Hugo Keenan, Gavin Coombes and Finlay Bealham rubbed salt in the wounds for victory in Ireland's final game of the season and their biggest win over the US since 2000's 83-3 hammering in New Hamphsire.

Farrell's outfit's next game is a re-match with the Eagles in Las Vegas in late-October to begin their autumn campaign.

Gold's men, who claimed a late consolation with Michael Baskas's try, next play in September in a double-header against cross-border rivals Canada in a qualifier for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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