This year’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship was officially launched over the weekend in the French city of Perpignan, with all 12 captains expressing their desire to create memories that will last a lifetime.
The captains of host nation France, defending champions New Zealand, Oceania rivals Australia and newly-promoted Japan came together on Saturday in Perpignan, where the Pool A teams will be based for the opening rounds of the premier age-grade tournament.
A day later the other eight captains, including Ireland’s Caelan Doris, joined forces under stormy skies at the 14th-century Le Castillet in the city for the official captains’ photo ahead of the 11th edition of the tournament which takes place in the French cities of Perpignan, Narbonne and Béziers from May 30 to June 17.
While New Zealand will be bidding to win back-to-back titles and their seventh in total, there are a host of potential contenders hoping to lift the coveted trophy in what is expected to be the most competitive tournament to date.
Looking forward to playing in his second World Rugby Under-20 Championship, Ireland number 8 Doris said: “It’s nice to finally arrive. We got to the hotel last night, we’re starting to get used to the climate, the food and just being here in general.
“It’s nice to get a chance to talk to a few of the captains before we go out and play them over the next few weeks. The first game against France (on Wednesday) is going to be huge, we’ve talked about it a lot over the last couple of weeks. We’re aware they’re coming off the back of winning the Six Nations, and in front of a home crowd, so we’re definitely going to need to be on point.
“We’ve trained well over the last couple of weeks and we’re building well into it, so it’s going to be a big one. This competition is definitely a big stepping stone to professional rugby. We’re all aware of that and we know what it means, so (we’re) obviously delighted to be here representing our country.”
The Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, face France in Perpignan on Wednesday night at 9pm local time/8pm Irish time. They will then take on South Africa (Sunday, June 3) and Georgia (Thursday, June 7) in their other Pool C fixtures, which will all be broadcast live on eir Sport 2.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Squad (2018 World Rugby Under-20 Championship, Perpignan, Narbonne & Béziers, France, May 30-June 17):
Backs (12) –
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Conor Dean (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Dan Hurley (Young Munster/Munster) *
James Hume (Banbridge/Ulster)
Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
Hugh O’Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster)
Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Peter Sylvester (UCC/Munster) *
Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
James McCarthy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Forwards (16) –
Matthew Agnew (Ballymena/Ulster)
Jack Aungier (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe Byrne (Dublin University/Leinster) *
Matthew Dalton (Malone/Ulster)
Cormac Daly (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jack Daly (Garryowen/Munster) *
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt)
Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster)
Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster)
Joe Dunleavy (Malone/Ulster)
James French (UCC/Munster)
Aaron Hall (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Bryan O’Connor (UCC/Munster) *
Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Dublin University/Leinster) *
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
Unavailable due to injury:
Eoghan Clarke, Angus Curtis, Ronan Kelleher, Sean Masterson, Jack O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Peter Sullivan
IRELAND U-20s’ World Rugby Championship Fixtures:
Pool C –
France v Ireland (live eir Sport 2)
Stade Aime-Giral, Perpignan, Wednesday, May 30, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time
South Africa v Ireland (live eir Sport 2)
Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitie, Narbonne, Sunday, June 3, 4.30pm local time/3.30pm Irish time
Ireland v Georgia (live eir Sport 2)
Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitie, Narbonne, Thursday, June 7, 6.30pm local time/5.30pm Irish time
Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitie, Narbonne or Stade Aime-Giral, Perpignan, Tuesday, June 12
Stade de la Mediterranee, Béziers, Sunday, June 17