18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The squad had landed in Edinburgh on Wednesday last and they had a training session there before transferring by coach to the team hotel in Glasgow, a base they share with the Welsh and Australian squads.
Team Manager Haslett admitted that they had little information on Friday's opposition never having played them before. In fact the first time they came across the Tongans was at the Welcoming Ceremony in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening.
"To be honest we know little or nothing about them," said Haslett, " but we saw them on Wednesday evening and they are big boys. Our information is that they play a similar game to Samoa and Fiji. They like the physical stuff but they're also a skillful side willing to run ball from any place on the park."
"So we will need to play a very structured game. Quite simply, we would hope to subdue them up front. Get control in the pack and deprive them as best we can of possession. That's the general idea. Basically get ball and keep it. Play the game inside their half."
Perhaps easier said than done Haslett agrees, but then again he is confident that we have the players to do that.
"We must be realistic really," he explained. We're ranked 7th and we're playing a team that's ranked 11th. So we will be expected to win and we're confident that if we can produce the sort of performance we're capable of, we can win."
"That's not to say it's going to be easy. Far from it. It'll be hard, physical and very demanding. But we're prepared for that and as I said if we do what we set out to do, things will go well for us.
Haslett reported no injury worries ahead of the game. The team has trained well since arriving and this Thursday evening will return to the hotel for dinner. The 5pm kick off on Friday makes it a long day for the players but management have structured it in such a way that the hours prior to kick-of will not hang heavy on the squad.
Ireland Under 21.
15. Andrew Finn (Dolphin) 14. Richard Lane (UCC) 13. John Hearty (Blackrock Coll) 12. Glen Telford (Dungannon) 11. Tommy Bowe (Queens Uni) 10. Gareth Steenson (Queens Uni) 9. Tomas O'Leary (Cork Constitution) 1. John Wickham (Clontarf) 2. Denis Fogarty (Cork Constitution) 3. Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins) 4. David Gannon (Blackrock Coll) capt 5. Shane O'Connor (Cork Constitution) 6. Brendan O'Connor (Cork Constitution) 7. David O'Brien (Old Belvedere) 8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin Uni)
Replacements 16. Conor Geoghegan (UCD) 17. Keith Doyle (UCD) 18. Neil McComb (Dundee HSFP) 19. Oisin Hennessy (Dungannon) 20. Robbie Shaw (Wasps) 21. Michael Glancy (Loughborough Uni) 22. Breiffne O'Donnell (UL Bohemians).