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All Systems Go For Ireland Under-20s

All Systems Go For Ireland Under-20s

The season may be over for most of Ireland’s club, provincial and international players, but the Ireland Under-20s still have plenty to aim for at the IRB Junior World Championship which starts in Italy next week.

The Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, had some highs and lows during the RBS U-20 6 Nations Championship and with a number of players back from injury and Magners League exposure, Mike Ruddock’s youngsters are certainly eager to make their mark on the summer tournament.

The pool stages get underway for them next Friday with a televised clash with England in Treviso. Four days later, they face South Africa at the same venue and then there is a trip to Rovigo for the final Pool C game against Scotland on June 18.

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The knockout stages follow after that, with Sky Sports providing live TV coverage and games also to be streamed on the official tournament website.

Passing on his best wishes to the coaches and players before their departure, PwC Senior Partner Ronan Murphy said: “We are delighted to support Irish rugby and the Under-20 squad in particular.

“Success on the pitch is determined by having the right team with the right talent playing to win. Likewise, at PwC, by having the best people working together we are committed to helping our clients tackle today’s tough business challenges.

“We wish the Under-20 squad success in the forthcoming IRB Junior World Championship in Italy.”

Eight of the players selected saw action at last summer’s tournament in Argentina – among them are Leinster winger Andrew Conway, who notched five tries in five matches, and Ulster out-half James McKinney, who was Ireland’s top points scorer with 37 points.

Looking forward to Friday week’s opening fixture against England, Ruddock said: “It’ll be a real cup final alright because we need to win that first game.

“I haven’t finalised the team against England yet but there will be eight or nine changes to the team that lost against them in the Six Nations in Athlone.

“We’ve had more opportunity to work together cohesively as a unit than we had before that game too. I don’t want to make any excuses for the Six Nations though because we didn’t play well.

“England are Grand Slam champions and they’ll be confident they can progress in this tournament. We’ve got to play with the passion of underdogs but with the mentality that we’re winners as well. It’s all about trying to find that balance.”

The Ireland U-20s have strung together warm-up wins over the Munster and Leinster Development sides in recent weeks and Ruddock reckons the backs division, in particular, will cause problems for their opponents in Italy.

“I think the conditions will suit us. We have a very talented back-line with quality players like Paddy Jackson, James McKinney, Luke Marshall, JJ Hanrahan, Brendan Macken, Craig Gilroy and Andrew Conway.

“There’s some great pace, footwork and footballing skills there. We have a very potent attacking back-line. The harder the ground will be the quicker the rucks will be and the better the presentation of the ball will be.”

Click here to purchase tickets for the Ireland Under-20s’ matches at the Junior World Championship in Italy.


* All kick-off times are local time

Friday, June 10 – 6.10pm: England v Ireland, Stadio Communale di Monigo, Treviso
Friday, June 10 – 8.10pm: South Africa v Scotland, Stadio del Plebiscito, Padova
Tuesday, June 14 – 6.10pm: England v Scotland, Stadio Communale di Monigo, Treviso
Tuesday, June 14 – 8.10pm: Ireland v South Africa, Stadio Communale di Monigo, Treviso
Saturday, June 18 – 8.10pm: England v South Africa, Stadio del Plebiscito, Padova
Saturday, June 18 – 8.10pm: Ireland v Scotland, Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo

Related Links –

Ireland U-20 Squad Named For Junior World Championship

Follow The Ireland Under-20s On TV And Online

Ireland U-20s Claim Warm-Up Win In Cork