The teams have been announced for the final round of pool match of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship between Ireland U20 and New Zealand U20.
The tournament hasn’t gone too well for Ireland’s youngsters this year. It was always going to be a big ask to follow last year’s successful team and their task was made doubly difficult with a stack of last-minute withdrawals but they will still be disappointed with the defeats against Italy and Scotland in the opening two rounds.
They had only beaten both these teams by a single point in the recent Six Nations so it was always going to be tight, and with pool leaders, New Zealand, tomorrow it’s likely that the team will go through the pool stages without a win.
However, with all the teams scrapping for ranking positions next week there is still plenty to play for; and it appears to be these latter games that the coaching team are concentrating on as they have named a comparatively inexperienced side tomorrow against the tournaments joint favourites (alongside England).
As for the Ulster contingent, Angus Curtis has been sent home following concussion against Scotland – the young Queen’s player had an impressive cameo in that match – but he can take some comfort that he is one of nine Ireland players eligible for next years competition. Prop Peter Cooper is rested for this one but Jonny Stewart (scrum half), and Marcus Rea (blindside) together with, Ulster’s latest signing, Jack Regan (second row) all start.
The team also features Munster cousins Gavin and Liam Coombes, who start in the second row and on the wing respectively, Liam having arrived yesterday as a replacement for Curtis and is straight into the team for his debut!
We spoke to Ireland U20’s assistant coach Kieran Campbell about the tournament so far:
It’s a tournament that challenges you both physically and mentally. We know we could have been more consistent with our performances, we’ve had good periods in games but unfortunately we’ve knocked off for periods as well.
Whether that’s due to the (very hot) conditions and the turnaround times I’m not sure, certainly their preparation has been good but we need to perform for a full 80 minutes against New Zealand tomorrow to give ourselves an opportunity in that game.
We’ve called up a few of the U19’s (for late withdrawals) and in general they have done well. It’s a huge test for them to come into a tournament like this and it’s their first experience of U20’s rugby too. I think if they are being honest they have found it hugely challenging but it’s something they will grow from and it will stand them in good stead for next season’s world championship.
Ireland U20’s Captain’s Run Gallery
Ireland U20 v New Zealand U20 Team Lists
|IRELAND U20||NEW ZEALAND U20|
|Alan Tynan||15||Will Jordan|
|Michael Silvester||14||Tima Faingaanuku|
|Jack Kelly||13||Braydon Ennor|
|David McCarthy||12||Orbyn Leger|
|Liam Coombes||11||Caleb Clarke|
|Conor Fitzgerald||10||Tiaan Falcon|
|Jonny Stewart||9||Ereatara Enari|
|Joey Conway||1||Ezekiel Lindenmuth|
|Adam Moloney||2||Asafo Auma|
|Greg McGrath||3||Alex Fidow|
|Gavin Coombes||4||Isasia Walker-Leawere|
|Jack Regan||5||Sam Caird|
|Marcus Rea||6||Samuel Slade|
|John Foley||7||Tom Christie|
|Sean Masterson||8||Luke Jacobson|
|Ronan Kelleher||16||John Sauni|
|Jordan Duggan||17||Harrison Allan|
|Charlie Connolly||18||Pouri Rakete-Stones|
|Fineen Wycherley||19||Adrian Choat|
|Caelan Doris||20||Marino Mikaele Tu’u|
|Jack Stafford||21||Kemara Hauiti-Parapara|
|Conor Dean||22||Thomas Umaga-Jensen|
|Ciaran Frawley||23||Josh McKay|