You have a nap these days and another Irish team is announced! This time it’s, the future Ulster supremo, Allen Clarke’s Emerging Ireland!
As is Clarke’s wont the Ulster participation is kept to a minimum, though he does have some excuse with, our man of the series, Robbie Diack ruled out with a calf injury. Only Rob Herring starts but with Niall Annett, Ricky Lutton, Michael Heaney and, at long last, Peter Nelson on the bench the game is sure to finish with a reasonable Ulster participation.
The game against Uruguay should be Ireland’s easiest fixture in the mini tournament so it’s probably safe enough giving the Connacht boys a run out though I am surprised that the centre paring of Noel Reid and Brendan Macken, that impressed in the match against South Africa Presidents XV, has been split up with Connacht’s Eoin Griffin getting the nod at outside centre.
Despite my reservations abut this tournament I must admit it has been largely enjoyable and it has been interesting to see the “bubbling under” players from the other provinces though few, if any, look as though they will actually emerge, but you never know. The performances of the front row, both in this tournament and in the U20’s, have been pleasing and it’s been gratifying to see the much maligned Michael Bent’s contribution in the set and the loose adding a much needed fractious edge to a generally soft pack.
Sunday’s match will be streamed live on the IRB website, and sees the Irish youngsters bidding to end the competition on a winning note.
Emerging Ireland are third in the standings a point behind hosts Georgia, who face the table-topping South Africans in the final round. Uruguay are bottom and without a point after losing to the South Africans (37-9) and Georgia (27-3).
EMERGING IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Uruguay, IRB Tbilisi Cup, Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, Sunday, June 16, kick-off 4pm local time/1pm Irish time):
15 – David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
14 – Niall Morris (Leicester Tigers/Exile) *
13 – Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht) *
12 – Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster) *
11 – Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht) *
10 – Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)
9 – John Cooney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
1 – Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) *
2 – Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
3 – Michael Bent (Leinster)
4 – David O’Callaghan (Dolphin/Munster) *
5 – David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
6 – Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt)
7 – Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
8 – Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht) *
16 – Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
17 – Richard Lutton (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
18 – Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
19 – Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
20 – Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
21 – Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster) *
22 – Peter Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster) *