The Ireland Under-20s may be out of the running for the U-20 RBS 6 Nations crown, but with the World Rugby U-20 Championship to come in June a win over Scotland in Galashiels tonight would give them a timely lift.
Number 8 Lorcan Dow expressed the Ireland Under-20 squad’s eagerness to bounce back from last week’s disappointing 19-12 defeat to Wales, a result they are hoping to put behind them when they face Scotland this evening.
“Once you do enough analysis on it, you look at yourselves hard and do the training sessions after, you get it (the defeat) out of the system and you look forward to finishing the tournament on a high,” explained Dow, a member of the Ulster Rugby Academy who plays his club rugby for Queen’s University.
“It was difficult to take. It is always hard to swallow when you are in a green jersey and lose. It was difficult but we are over it now and looking forward to Scotland.
“It is just part of the game. There is so much detail and analysis. You are going to get feedback from outside and inside the coaching circle. You need to be your harshest critic. I wouldn’t say it’s easy to do, I would just say it is a necessary part of the game. We’ve looked in detail at what we did wrong and right (against Wales) and what we can build on the last performance.”
Born in London, Exiles product Dow spent six of his formative years in Dublin as his parents, Anna and Jonathan, were actors. His mum acted on the stages of the Abbey and Gate Theatres, while his dad has had a number of TV and film roles, including a lengthy stint on ‘The Bill’.
The back rower retained a connection with Ireland and a longing to return to play for the country one day. He was playing for the Irish Exiles a couple of years ago before being selected for the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team.
That started the roller-coaster which saw him move back over to Ireland, with Belfast now his base. Dow is sharing a house with fellow Ulster Academy players and Ireland underage internationals, Jacob Stockdale and Sean O’Hagan, who, he adds, never do the dishes!
Two years of playing with the Ulster Under-20s and then captaining the Ireland Under-19s was followed by being brought into the Ireland Under-20 set-up this season by new head coach Nigel Carolan.
“It has definitely been a learning experience, coming through, but something I have definitely benefited from. I am starting to see positive things in my game and hopefully the next game (against Scotland) will show what I’ve learned over this Six Nations.
“It’s when you are ahead in tight games, it is finishing those situations. We’re probably learning in the negative way. For example against England, that one we could have probably finished that game out and won it. We’ve learnt from that.
“You might make different decisions if you are lucky enough to be in that situation again. I suppose against France, we learned positively that we can play rugby, we can play a real good style of rugby when we get everything right.”
Dow suggested that Ireland beat themselves in the last two matches against England and Wales. Having opened up with a big win away to Italy and followed it up with a fantastic display in beating France in Athlone, inaccuracies cost them against England and Wales.
Wales gained the upper hand in the set piece and breakdown in Colwyn Bay, areas which were not a problem for Ireland against the English in the previous round. The focus is now on a much improved collective performance against the Scots.
With the World Rugby U-20 Championship in Italy just over two months away and Scotland in Ireland’s pool, Dow added: “We did want to position ourselves best in the Six Nations first and we are not in the running to win it now. There has to be one eye on that (the World Cup) in a way.
“We are solely concentrating on the Scotland game because we know if we think about anything else we are not going to show the best of ourselves against Scotland. There is one eye on it but we want to concentrate on this first and foremost.
“I definitely think we need to have a good picture of ourselves going forward. You never want to finish poorly. If we go out, play our game, we can really show what we can do and hopefully take that momentum into the World Cup.”