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Ulster Youngsters To Play Ireland Under-20s Next Month

Ulster Youngsters To Play Ireland Under-20s Next Month

Ulster teams will entertain both the New England Free Jacks Academy XV and the Ireland Under-20s at Kingspan Stadium in the coming weeks ©INPHO/Ben Brady

The Ireland Under-20s (sponsored by PwC) will play Ulster ‘A’ at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, June 1 (kick-off 1pm), as part of their build-up to this summer’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

With South Africa hosting back-to-back U-20 Championships, this year’s tournament will be played over five match days – between June 29 and July 19 – in the Western Cape regions of Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

The world’s best 12 nations have been placed in three pools of four, and the Ireland U-20s  are joined in Pool B by Australia, Georgia, and Six Nations rivals Italy.

Coached by current Ulster interim head coach Richie Murphy, Ireland finished as runners-up to France at last summer’s U-20 Championship, having beaten Australia 30-10 in Paarl on the way to topping their pool. They also overcame hosts South Africa at the semi-final stage.

Ulster ‘A’ will provide the opposition for the Ireland U-20s at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, June 1, with the home side containing players who will be given the platform to showcase their progress through the province’s player pathway.

Meanwhile, in a historic first ever international trip, the New England Free Jacks’ Academy team will travel to face an Ulster Development side selected by Ulster Rugby Academy Manager Gavin Hogg. That game will take place at Kingspan Stadium on Thursday, May 16 (kick-off 3.30pm).

It follows Ulster’s participation in the 2019 Cara Cup hosted by the Free Jacks in greater Boston, which saw the provincial outfit claim a 43-15 victory with a line-up which included current senior players, Callum Reid, David McCann, Marcus Rea, and Stewart Moore.

Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment at Ulster Rugby, Bryn Cunningham, said: “The upcoming home fixtures for our Development and ‘A’ players are a great opportunity for our supporters to see some of our young local talent, which we are developing through our player pathway, take to the pitch at Kingspan Stadium.

“Playing opposition such as the Free Jacks and Ireland Under-20s provides valuable matchday opportunities for the individuals set to be competing for an Ulster jersey in our senior Men’s squad in the upcoming years.”

Hogg added: “This is a big opportunity for our Ulster players being developed through our Academy, clubs, and schools, to compete against world class, competitive opposition.

“The Free Jacks will come into the game confident as the National Collegiate Rugby All Stars champions, and we’re all familiar with the recent success of the U-20s under the leadership of Richie Murphy, which has included the involvement of many of our young Ulster players.

“We look forward to welcoming both the Free Jacks and the U-20s to Kingspan Stadium in the coming weeks with the backing of our home crowd.”

2023/24 Ulster Rugby Season Ticket holders will enjoy free access to both of these matches, and have been emailed with details on how to claim their tickets.

Tickets will then be made available for general sale from 10am on Tuesday, May 7 at ulster.rugby/buytickets , priced from £8 for adults, £4 for juniors, or £20 for family tickets (2A & 2J).

Both games will also be streamed exclusively live on Ulster Rugby Live, the province’s new home of live and on-demand action.

Visit live.ulster.rugby to sign up and place your order for either of these fixtures for just £5. You can also browse an on-demand archive of club and schools games from recent months.