A 26-man Ireland Under-21 Squad (sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers) has been named for next month's IRB U-21 World Championship in Auvergne, France.
The Ireland team will open the tournament against France in Issoire on Friday, June 9 - the same opposition they played in the first game of last year's tournament. the 2006 tournament opener will also be televised live (broadcaster to be confirmed).
Mark McDermott's side will also take on Argentina and Georgia in the final pool matches.
Commenting on the tournament, Irish coach McDermott said: "As with all tournaments, the opening game will be important for us. We were disappointed with some of our results in the Six Nations this year, so this gives us an opportunity to put in a higher level of performance. Whereas France have a strong overall game, our other group games against Argentina and Georgia will be a test for our forwards as that is where their traditional strength lies."
Ireland manager Niall O'Shea said: "We have added some new members to the squad, with David Pollock, David Ryan and Diarmuid Laffan, which we hope will give us further options in the pack. The rest of the squad have all been involved at some stage of the season, so with that experience on board, we will be looking for a good start."
Wishing the Ireland squad the best for the tournament, Donal O'Connor, Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "We are delighted to be involved as partners with the IRFU sponsoring the U-21 team. In rugby and in business having the right team working together is vital for success. At PwC our aim is to recruit outstanding people and develop them through great training and great experience to becoming outstanding professional advisors. Our sponsorship reflects our strong commitment to supporting Ireland's young talent and helping them in their challenge to become world class performers. We wish the U-21 team the best of luck as they compete in the 2006 IRB U-21 World Championship in France."
The Ireland squad departs for France from their training camp in Portumna on Monday, June 5.
...Belfast Harlequins hooker Stuart Philpott - the Ireland U-21 captain...
IRELAND U-21 SQUAD (IRB U-21 World Championship, Auvergne, France):
Callum Black (Worcester)
Sean Cronin (Shannon)
Paul Doran Jones (Dublin University)
Billy Holland (UCC)
Daragh Hurley (UCC)
Diarmuid Laffan (Blackrock College RFC)
David McGowan (Buccaneers)
Ross Noonan (UCC)
Sean O'Brien (UCD)
Stuart Philpott (Belfast Harlequins) (captain)
David Pollock (Queens University)
David Ryan (Highfield)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne)
Dan Tuohy (Hartpury College/Gloucester)
Fionn Carr (Blackrock College RFC)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins)
Conan Doyle (Garryowen)
Peter Durcan (Galwegians)
Tom Gleeson (Cork Constitution)
Kieran Hallet (Bedford Blues)
Ian Hanley (UL Bohemians)
Paul Marshall (Ballynahinch)
Fergus McFadden (UCD)
Jonathon Sexton (St. Mary's College)
Duncan Williams (UCC)
Matthew Williams (Bristol)
Mark McDermott - Coach
Nigel Carolan - Assistant Coach
Niall O'Shea - Manager
Eanna Falvey - Doctor
Tara O'Meara - Physiotherapist
Regina Flanagan - Masseur
Steve Richards - Fitness Advisor
Kurt McQuilkin - HPU Analyst
Jack Kiely - Baggage Master
U-21 World Championship Teams:
Pool A: South Africa, Wales, Ireland
Pool B: Australia, England, Italy
Pool C: New Zealand, Scotland, Fiji
Pool D: France, Argentina, Georgia
Friday, June 9 IRELAND v France Issoire 7.00pm (6.00pm Irish time)
Tuesday, June 13 IRELAND v Argentina Cournon 5.00pm (4.00pm)
Saturday, June 17 IRELAND v Georgia Issoire 4.00pm (3.00pm)
Wednesday, June 21 Match Day 4 tbc tbc
Sunday, June 25 Match Day 5 tbc tbc