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Junior World Championship Preview: Ireland Under-20s v Australia Under-20s

Junior World Championship Preview: Ireland Under-20s v Australia Under-20s

The Ireland Under-20s face two of the southern Hemisphere’s ‘big three’ in their pool at the IRB Junior World Championship, beginning with a Wednesday night date with Australia in Vannes.


IRELAND U-20s v AUSTRALIA U-20s, Stade de la Rabine, Vannes, 6.45pm local time/5.45pm Irish time (live TG4/Sky Sports 3 red button/Sky Sports Xtra)

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Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, has been named for their first game of the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship against Australia in Vannes on Wednesday.

Scrum half Luke McGrath will captain the Ireland Under-20 side for their opening Pool B fixture against their Australian counterparts.

McGrath is just one of two players who have previous experience of playing in the Junior World Championship. The other, Josh van der Flier, has been named in the back row.

Four players who were not involved in the Under-20 Six Nations earlier this year have earned places in the matchday squad – Leinster-capped winger Adam Byrne, centre Thomas Farrell and replacement forwards Edward Byrne and Daniel Leavy.

The versatile Rory Scannell, who played at centre and out-half during the Six Nations, moves to full-back with Farrell linking up in the centre with his Lansdowne club-mate Thomas Daly who scored 35 points in four Six Nations outings.

Provincial colleagues McGrath and Steve Crosbie continue their half-back partnership with Connacht youngster Adam Boland making his first start for the Ireland U-20s at tighthead prop.

Peadar Timmins, who started the season at blindside flanker, teams up with Ballynahinch clubman John Donnan in the second row, while Conor Joyce, Josh van der Flier and Ryan Murphy combine in the back row after starting together against France and Italy in March.

Mike Ruddock’s charges share Pool B with Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. Ireland’s pool matches will be broadcast live on TG4 along with the semi-finals and final games of the tournament in France.

Meanwhile, Australian Under-20 head coach Adrian Thompson has named an experienced side to face Ireland in their opener on French soil..

The starting line-up, captained by the Super Rugby-capped Curtis Browning, features seven players with previous Under-20 experience and five 2012 Australian Schoolboys. The replacements bench also boasts two members of last year’s Under-20 squad.

“Ireland will be tough. We will need to match them physically if we are to win this game. Preparation has been good and the boys are excited for the first game,” explained Thompson.

Five members of the starting Australian pack have previous Junior World Championship experience, including the front row trio and second row Senio Toleafoa who actually lined out for the Samoan Under-20s in last summer’s tournament.

IRELAND U-20: Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster); Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Thomas Farrell (Lansdowne/Leinster), Thomas Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) (capt); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons/Exile), Adam Boland (Lansdowne/Connacht), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), John Donnan (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Conor Joyce (Malone/Ulster), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Murphy (Dolphin/Munster).

Replacements: Bryan Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Edward Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Furniss (Worcester Warriors/Exile), Sean McCarthy (Shannon/Munster), Daniel Leavy (UCD/Leinster), David Shanahan (Clontarf/Leinster), Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Connacht), Darragh Leader (Galwegians/Connacht).

AUSTRALIA U-20: Jonah Placid (QLD); Harry Parker (QLD), Lalakai Foketi (NSW), Ulupano Seuteni (QLD), Alex Northam (NSW); Jake McIntyre (NSW), Ben Meehan (QLD); Silatolu Latu (NSW), Maile Ngauamo (QLD), Oliver Hoskins (WA), Senio Toleafoa (NSW), Tom Staniforth (ACT), Michael Wells (NSW), Jack Dempsey (NSW), Curtis Browning (QLD) (capt).

Replacements: Andrew Ready (QLD), Pettowa Paraka (QLD), Allan Alaalatoa (NSW), Ofiu Manukeu-Archibald (NSW), Patrick Sio (NSW), Waldo Wessels (NSW), Luke Burton (WA), Henry Taefu (QLD).

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Mathieu Noirot (France)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 17/10; Draw: 20/1; Australia U-20s to win: 4/9

Pre-Match Quotes: Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s) – “We are in a tough pool but you would like to think after last year that Australia, New Zealand and Fiji would also think they are in a hard pool because Ireland are there.

“We also defeated England and France last year and have gained a lot of respect as a result. It is now up to the current crop to live up to that world class standard.

“And I think they will. They are really looking forward to it. They have worked very hard and the mood in the camp is good. We know it will be tough but that’s always the case in this competition, that’s what makes it so good.”

Ryan Murphy (Ireland U-20s) – ” From talking to Luke McGrath and Josh van der Flier who have been involved (in the World Championship) before, we know the games come fairly rapidly at you and you’re playing a full international every few days so the body doesn’t have much time to recover,” he said.

“We have ended up in a tough pool but we are a confident bunch and we feel we didn’t really show our true ability in the Six Nations, so we certainly won’t fear anyone.

“These are the teams you want to play, and you want to measure yourself against sides like that to see how you come up against them.

“This competition is a collection of the best players from around the world at this level so it’s something you want to front up for.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Luke McGrath

Shanahan: Tournament Is A Huge Stage For Young Players

Thornbury Looking To ‘Kick On’ In France

McGrath Relishing Southern Hemisphere Challenge

2013 IRB Junior World Championship

Tournament Profiles –


Seeding for 2013 JWC: Fifth
Best finish: Fifth (2012)
Worst finish: Ninth (2008, 2010)

JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 12 / Lost 13
JWC points/tries scored: 591 / 61

JWC graduates: 10
Most -capped JWC graduate: Conor Murray (19 matches)

Did you know? – In 2010, Ireland Under-20 captain Rhys Ruddock became the only player to be called away from a Junior World Championship to join up with the Ireland senior squad. He duly made his debut against the Wallabies.

Head coach: Mike Ruddock
Captain: Luke McGrath

One to watch: Tom Daly
England fans will not forget his name after he held his nerve to kick a late match-winning conversion against the defending champions in the Six Nations earlier this year.

A powerful – and tall at 6ft 4in – centre, Daly is a constant threat to opposing defences and his partnership in the middle with Thomas Farrell or Rory Scannell could be the catalyst for the back-line to spark into life and set them on the road to causing another upset


Seeding for 2013 JWC: Eighth
Best finish: Runners-up (2010)
Worst finish: Eighth (2012)

JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 15 / Lost 10
JWC points/tries scored: 892 / 128

JWC graduates: 19
Most-capped JWC graduate: David Pocock (46 matches)

Did you know? – Five of the top 10 most capped JWC graduates are Australian: David Pocock, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and James Slipper.

Head coach: Adrian Thompson
Captain: Curtis Browning

One to watch: Curtis Browning
An imposing figure on the pitch, Browning was named Australian Under-20 Player of the Year in 2012 and returns for his second Junior World Championship as captain, succeeding his Queensland Reds team-mate Liam Gill.

The grandson of former Wallaby Dick Marks, Browning made his Super Rugby debut this year and also captained the Queensland Reds College XV during the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup against the ‘A’ teams of Tonga and Japan.

Support the Ireland U-20s on www.irishrugby.ie/facebook or search #IrlU20s on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.