This afternoon’s Under-18 Five Nations Festival match between the Ireland Schools side and England has been called off due to fears from the English camp over the state of the pitch in Colorno.
England refused to play the final game of the tournament on the Colorno pitch, citing player safety as the reason. The match will not be refixed.
The Ireland Under-18 Schools management team and players were understably unhappy with the decision as, following wins over Wales and hosts Italy, they were eager to have a crack at the only other unbeaten team in the Five Nations Festival.
The England management had been concerned about the number of small stones lying on the surface but organisers and local children cleared the stones and all four match officials felt it was in a good enough state to play on.
Six Nations Operations Director Jon Davis said: “From our point of view, we are extremely disappointed, given all the efforts of the Italians and the agreement the pitch was playable by Ireland and the referee (Chris Williams), that England were unable to participate in the match.
“It may have repercussions at Six Nations level where it will be discussed at the Council Meeting in May.”
This is the second occasion this season that an Ireland v England fixture has been called off due to fears over a pitch. Player safety issues forced February’s ‘A’ international to be called off at a wintry Donnybrook.
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v England U-18, Under-18 Five Nations Festival, Colorno, Saturday, April 18, 4pm local time):
15 – Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Leinster)
14 – Tiarnan O’Halloran (Cistercian Roscrea/Leinster)
13 – Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster)
12 – Alex Kelly (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
11 – Sam Coughlan Murray (Newbridge College/Leinster)
10 – Gareth Quinn McDonagh (Crescent CC/Munster)
9 – Peter du Toit (King’s Hospital/Leinster)
1 – James Tracy (Newbridge College/Leinster)
2 – Niall Annett (Methodist College/Ulster) (capt)
3 – Martin Moore (Castleknock College/Leinster)
4 – David O’Mahony (Presentation College/Munster)
5 – Aaron Spring (Sligo Grammar School/Connacht)
6 – Paddy Marks (RBAI/Ulster)
7 – David Doyle (Gonzaga College/Leinster)
8 – Jordi Murphy (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Replacements (from): Niall Scannell (Presentation College/Munster), Rory Harrison (Methodist College/Ulster), Conor Carey (Methodist College/Ulster), Shane Buckley (Rockwell College/Munster), Colin Mallon (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), Harry Doyle (Royal School Armagh/Ulster), James McKinney (Campbell College/Ulster), Ben Sargent (Crescent CC/Munster), Chris Colvin (Royal School Armagh/Ulster), Ferdia Doherty (Gonzaga College/Leinster).
Manager – Lorcan Balfe
Coach – Paul Barr
Assistant Coach – Kenny Hooks
Ireland Under-18 Schools Results –