5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
Ulster Schools face a formidable challenge if they are to overcome the 'young Wallabies' as the tourists have already taken a number of scalps on their tour of Japan, Britain and Ireland (Japan U19s 77-5; Welsh Schools 22-9; Welsh U19s 23-22; and Scotland U19As 26-6). Although the Australian Schools have been defeated by their Irish counterparts in Australia in 1996 and 2000, they have never been beaten by a side on Irish soil.
The only changes to the team narrowly defeated by Leinster in the deciding Interpro fixture a fortnight ago is the half back pairing, where Richard McCarter and Stephen Auld replace Gareth Steenson and Michael Kirkwood respectively.
The 28 man Australian squad will be staying with Coleraine Inst. pupils from Thursday to Sunday, where they will visit a number of the tourist sites on the North Coast. They will be coached by Peter Gledhill of St. Josephs College, Nudgee in Queensland. Peter commented on the squad, "There is a goldmine of talent within this team. Continuity and ball control combined with strong defence are areas we will be concentrating on. This tour will give them a taste of what it's like to play for Australia overseas. It will help develop them as rugby players and as representatives of their country".
The Australian Rugby Union's General Manager, John O'Neill, anticipates that amongst this party would be members of the Wallabies in their 2003 bid to retain the Rugby World Cup.
Ticket Prices are #5 Adult, and #3 Child. However, there is an excellent deal whereby a child U16 accompanied by an adult is admitted free of charge.
Ulster Schools from 15-9, 1-8:
Tommy Bowe (Royal School Armagh), Simon Gardiner (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), Thomas Horner (Campbell College Belfast), Johnnie McLaughlin (Methodist College Belfast), Robert Conway (Coleraine Academical Institution), Richard McCarter (Foyle & Londonderry College), Stephen Auld (Royal School Armagh), Niall Conlon,captain (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), Ben Hanvey (Belfast High School), John McNeill (Portora Royal School), Lewis Stevenson (Ballyclare High School), Mark Jenkinson (Royal School Dungannon), Michael Williams (Methodist College Belfast), David Burns (Coleraine Academical Institution), Neil McComb (Campbell College).
Replacements: Stephen Morrow (Ballyclare High School), Gareth Steenson (Royal School Armagh), Michael Kirkwood (Methodist College Belfast), Gary Maxwell (Royal School Dungannon), Johnnie Craig (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), Matthew Shiells (Royal School Armagh), Michael Willis (Campbell College, Belfast).