…Division B Day One Results…Stars A Plenty…Hands Across The Atlantic…Dressed To Impress…Say What?…
IRB U-19 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – DIVISION B DAY ONE RESULTS:
Tonga 36 Uruguay 5, Bangor
Chile 29 Cook Islands 14, Queen’s, Belfast
Chinese Taipei 6 Italy 62, Malone
Romania 0 Georgia 28, Bangor
Russia 0 USA 6, Malone
Zimbabwe 0 Canada 8, Queen’s, Belfast
DIVISION B NEXT FIXTURES:
– Sunday, April 8 –
Romania v USA, Queen’s, Belfast, 2.30pm
Russia v Canada, Bangor, 2.30pm
Tonga v Cook Islands, Malone, 2.30pm
Chile v Italy, Bangor, 4.30pm
Chinese Taipei v Uruguay, Queen’s, Belfast, 4.30pm
Zimbabwe v Georgia, Malone, 4.30pm
STARS A PLENTY: Want to know the calibre of players who have taken part in previous Under-19 World Championships and gone on to play at Test level for their countries? Listed below are just a few of the current senior stars who have progress through from U-19 level.
IRELAND – Brian O’Driscoll, Kieran Campbell, Paddy Wallace, Donncha O’Callaghan, Andrew Trimble, Simon Best; AUSTRALIA – George Gregan, Drew Mitchell; FRANCE – Frederic Michalak; NEW ZEALAND – Dan Carter, Richie McCaw; SOUTH AFRICA – Bryan Habana
HANDS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC: In the build-up to their opening matches in the tournament, the Scotland and USA teams held a joint training session at CIYMS RFC earlier this week.
The shared session is an initiative that stretches back to the 2005 IRB U-19 World Championship. Both sets of players greatly enjoyed the experience, with the forwards working on lineouts, mauls and scrums, and the backs running through some counter-attacking exercises and back line moves.
After the two-hour session, USA lock and captain Scott Lavalla said: “That was great. I wish we could have been out there all day. We learned a lot. “I really picked up on the calmness and the patience when they were setting up a maul and in their phase play. When things went wrong they didn’t panic and just went onto the next phase.”
The training obviously paid off as the USA got off to a winning start in Division B, gaining a 6-0 victory over Russia at Malone RFC. Scotland open their Division A campaign against France on Thursday night at Belfast Harlequins’ Deramore Park ground.
DRESSED TO IMPRESS: There have been plenty of sightings of players in their team tracksuits around Belfast and Bangor in recent days, particularly around Stranmillis College, which is the tournament headquarters and base for eleven of the competing teams.
But there was a sight to behold at the Bloomfield Methodist Church in Belfast last Sunday when the Fijian players and management turned up for the morning service in their national dress. The colourful visitors also treated the regular parishioners to a song.
The locals, as expected, have taken the fun-loving Fijians to their hearts. The Fiji side played a training match against the Ards Under-20s – they face South Africa in their opener tomorrow at Belfast Harlequins and can expect a good smattering of support.
Samoa, who take on England tomorrow night at Shaw’s Bridge, also attended mass last Sunday at the Christian Fellowship Church and sung for the congregation.
“It is a tough pool, there is no doubt about it. We are playing the champions (Australia) and South Africa won it the year before so they are going to be hard games but we expect that anyway. This is an international competition. “We have a good bonding with the team this week and a few of the guys knew each other from last year. Our preparation has been good and we have learned from our warm-up games and will hopefully be a better team for it.”
– Instonians full-back Adam Craig gives an insight into hosts Ireland’s preparations for the tournament
“It was one of the highlights of my career so far. It was a great month of my life and got me accustomed to rugby at a higher level, so it was a great learning experience as well.
“I was straight out of Campbell College and too old for Irish Schools so I was sent down for a trial and made my way through into the squad and played a warm-up game against Spain at Bangor. I played out-half and it went well, we won by 60-odd points.
“I went over as a 10, but played full-back in our first game against the USA as coach Declan Kidney gave everyone a run.”
– Current Ulster and Ireland star Paddy Wallace relives his time as a member of the Irish team that won the U-19 World Championship in France in 1998
“We don’t want to let the crowd down, so in that respect we are a bit nervous but there is more excitement. Playing at Ravenhill is going to help a lot because our family and friends will be there and hopefully a big crowd.
“I don’t think there will be an easy game however. People might think Scotland will be easy but I have played them twice before and they are a lot like us in the way they play. They get stuck in. But our ambitions for the tournament are high.”
– Ballymena’s Ireland U-19 hooker Stephen Douglas wants Ireland to mark their mark on the 2007 tournament, beginning with Thursday’s Ravenhill clash with Australia