The Emerging Ireland team to play Russia in the opening match of the IRB Nations Cup on Friday afternoon has been announced.
Coached by Dan McFarland and Neil Doak and captained by Dominic Ryan, this will be Emerging Ireland’s first time to compete in the Nations Cup after finishing second at the Tbilisi Cup last summer.
There are five senior-capped players in the starting line-up for the Russia game – winger Craig Gilroy, half-backs Ian Keatley and Paul Marshall, prop Michael Bent and flanker Tommy O’Donnell.
Ulster duo Callum Black and Niall Annett join Bent in the front row with Connacht’s Michael Kearney and David Foley from Munster combining in the second row.
A back row containing skipper Ryan and O’Donnell is completed by Munster-bound number 8 Robin Copeland, who is joining the province from Cardiff Blues.
Keatley and Marshall lead a back-line full of exciting young talent, including centres Eoin Griffin (23) and Stuart McCloskey (21).
Munster’s Johne Murphy, who has made 11 Ireland ‘A’/Wolfhounds appearances, is the most experienced member of the starting back-three alongside wingers Gilroy (23) and Andrew Conway (22).
The selected Irish team has an average age of 25 and is backed up by an even younger replacements bench that includes 21-year-old half-backs Luke McGrath and JJ Hanrahan.
All of the games will be streamed live on www.rugbytv.ro/player, with live TV coverage in Romania on TVR 2.
Hosts Romania are the highest ranked team in the tournament at 17th in the IRB World Rankings with Russia ranked 19th and Uruguay ranked one further spot back in 20th position.
The Romanians won the Nations Cup in 2013 when beating Russia, the Argentina Jaguars and Emerging Italy.
EMERGING IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Russia, 2014 IRB Nations Cup, Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest, Friday, June 13, kick-off 4pm local time/2pm Irish time):
15 – Johne Murphy (Young Munster/Munster) *
14 – Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster)
13 – Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht) *
12 – Stuart McCloskey (Dungannon/Ulster) *
11 – Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Munster) *
10 – Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)
9 – Paul Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
1 – Callum Black (Malone/Ulster) *
2 – Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
3 – Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster)
4 – Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Connacht) *
5 – David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
6 – Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt) *
7 – Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
8 – Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues) *
16 – James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) *
17 – John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
18 – Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
19 – Sean Dougall (Dolphin/Munster) *
20 – Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) *
21 – JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
22 – Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster) *
* Denotes uncapped player at senior international level
2014 IRB NATIONS CUP (Bucharest, Romania):
Friday, June 13 –
EMERGING IRELAND v Russia, Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, 4pm local time/2pm Irish time
Wednesday, June 18 –
EMERGING IRELAND v Uruguay, Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, 4pm local time/2pm Irish time
Sunday, June 22 –
Romania v EMERGING IRELAND, Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, 7pm local time/5pm Irish time
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