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‘It’s Absolutely Essential For The Growth Of These Players’

Head Coach Noel McNamara has emphasised the importance of his Ireland Under-20 side being given the opportunity to train alongside the senior team following a hugely beneficial work-out between the two groups at Irish Independent Park on Thursday morning.

For the last number of seasons, the Ireland Under-20s have provided training opposition for the senior team during the two Guinness Six Nations down weeks and this week’s two-day camp in Cork concluded with an intense hour-long session on the 4G surface at Irish Independent Park.

Although the news of the cancellation of the Open Training Session at CIT due to heavy rainfall was deeply disappointing for both sets of players, it was paramount that preparations continued for the resumption of the Six Nations Championship next weekend.

Speaking to Irish Rugby TV following the session, McNamara was pleased with how his players applied themselves against Andy Farrell‘s side.

“It’s a little bit more than a hit out for us,” he said. “Essentially there’s almost as much in it in terms of learnings for us than a full game. There are an awful lot of positives for us in terms of how we played but there were also a few things where we feel we probably need to tighten up on and can tighten up on.

It’s absolutely essential for preparation and for the growth of these lads as well, going up against a senior international men’s team. I’m not sure it’s replicated in too many places around the world. It’s huge for us.

Ireland Under-20s, who have opened their campaign with back-to-back home wins over Scotland and Wales, will reconvene at the IRFU High Performance Centre on Monday to build further towards their Round 3 clash against England at Franklin’s Gardens next Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).