Two young Exiles will feature for the Ireland Under-20s against France in Athlone on Friday. Nathaniel McDonald will start at centre, while front rower Finlay Bealham, who won his first cap against Italy last weekend, is among the replacements.
Nathaniel McDonald, who has been named in the Ireland Under-20 team to play France, is another exciting young prospect who has come through the Exiles set-up.
As a centre, he is a member of the Coventry club. Nathaniel has already represented Ireland at Under-18 and Under-19 levels, the former at the annual FIRA-AER European Championship.
He is a younger brother of Sam McDonald, whom Ulster supporters will remember from their Development team of 2007/08 season. Being dual-qualified, he represented England from U-18 to U-20 levels, and is currently with Rosslyn Park as a tighthead prop.
Finlay Bealham (pictured) a loosehead prop. He gained his first Ireland U-20 cap last weekend against Italy and retains his place in the squad for Friday’s clash with France.
He is of Australian-Irish origin, being an ACT product who played for the Australia Schools ‘A’ side against New Zealand in 2009.
He represents the successful outcome of assiduous investigations by Allen Clarke, the IRFU High Performance Manager, with Finlay and his parents.
Finlay follows in the footsteps of fellow Australian-Irish players Tom Court (Ulster and Ireland) and Ed O’Donoghue (Leinster and Ireland Wolfhounds).
With the foregoing being capped at U-20 level, spare a thought for Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 openside flanker Sean Dougall, who had a horrendous time with injuries while with the Ulster Academy, missing out completely on U-20 honours.
Sean is now injury-free and playing with Rotherham Titans in the English Championship while completing his degree.
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