The Exiles Under-20s will play an interprovincial game against Ulster Under-20s this coming Sunday (August 23) at St Mary’s College, West London. Ulster will fly in and out of London on Sunday so a kick-off time of 1.30pm has been arranged.
A strong challenge is expected from the Ulster side who have been together in squad sessions since June. Like all Ulster sides, they will be well organised and determined.
The Exiles, on the other hand, will meet together for the first time this Saturday. Coaches Peter Halsall and Kevan Bell will need to develop a simple game-plan within which these young players will be able to express themselves.
A front row of Kieran Brookes and Declan Farrell, both Ireland Under-18 Clubs XV internationals, and Sean McCarthy should provide the Exiles with a sound platform to work off.
Kieran will be playing for the Exiles instead of travelling to Ulster with Newcastle for a pre-season friendly.
Also in the squad is former Ireland U-18 player Charlie Armstrong who has a late fitness test on Thursday. In all, there are seven former Ireland U-18 Clubs XV players in the squad.
Backs Nat McDonald and Luke O’Keefe both played for the U-18s last season, while Tchad Collins-Francois and James Stephenson played underage for Ireland the previous season.
A more than interested spectator at the game will be Ireland Under-20 coach Allen Clarke. He will be hoping that the game highlights potential talent that he can take forward into the Ireland set-up.