The Ireland Under-18 Clubs team has been announced for their international season opener against Portugal in Lisbon this Saturday evening (kick-off 5pm).
Leinster Under-18 Clubs head coach Dan van Zyl is in charge of the Ireland U-18 youngsters and is assisted by forwards coach Brendan O’Connor, who this season oversaw Munster’s first U-18 Clubs Interprovincial title win in 13 years.
There are no carryover players from last season in the Ireland squad which is captained by Young Munster centre Evan O’Gorman, the Munster U-18 Clubs skipper this year. Corinthians flanker Cian Huxford is vice-captain.
O’Gorman is partnered in midfield by Sale Sharks Academy member Kieran Dunne, one of six Exiles players in the matchday squad. Garryowen’s Harry Byrne and Garrett Fitzgerald from Tullow team up together at half-back.
There are players from seven different clubs and all four provinces in the starting pack, including Welwyn RFC duo Cameron Boon and Conor Finch. Bristol Academy member Iwan Hughes, who was part of the Ireland U-18 side that won the Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship in September, is selected among the replacements.
Ireland U-18 Clubs team manager Dermot Kelly said: “The squad came together at the King’s Hospital on Monday and have gelled well, putting in a lot of hard work in the short exciting time that they will be together.”
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS Team & Replacements (v Portugal Under-18s, Under-18 International Match, Estádio Nacional, Jamor, Lisbon, Saturday, November 5, kick-off 5pm):
15. Conor Hayes (Young Munster RFC/Munster)
14. Morgan Purcell (New Ross RFC/Leinster)
13. Kieran Dunne (Sale Sharks Academy/Exiles)
12. Evan O’Gorman (Young Munster RFC/Munster) (capt)
11. Hugh Lane (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
10. Harry Byrne (Garryowen FC/Munster)
9. Garrett Fitzgerald (Tullow RFC/Leinster)
1. Jack Walters (London Irish Amateurs RFC/Exiles)
2. Patrick Nixon (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)
3. Jack McIntosh (Rainey Old Boys RFC/Ulster)
4. Niall Murray (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
5. Cameron Boon (Welwyn RFC/Exiles)
6. Cian Huxford (Corinthians RFC/Connacht) (vice-capt)
7. Conor Finch (Welwyn RFC/Exiles)
8. John Hodnett (Clonakilty RFC/Munster)
16. Harry Donnelly (Waterpark RFC/Munster)
17. Daniel Arnold (Creggs RFC/Connacht)
18. Conan Dunne (Kilkenny RFC/Leinster)
19. Evan Murphy (Nenagh Ormond RFC/Munster)
20. Martin Moloney (Athy RFC/Leinster)
21. Caolan Englefield (Harlequins RFC/Exiles)
22. Iwan Hughes (Bristol Rugby Academy/Exiles)
23. Darragh Kelly (Suttonians RFC/Leinster)
Ireland Under-18 Clubs Team Management –
Dan van Zyl (Head Coach)
Brendan O’Connor (Assistant Coach)
Dermot Kelly (Team Manager)
Ciaran Walsh (Strength & Conditioning Coach)
Phillip McCelland (Team Doctor)
Nicholas Lawlor (Team Physio)
Carmel O’Dwyer (Squad Co-ordinator)
Brian Fitzgerald (Team Analyst)
Michael Coughlan (Baggage Master)