Tommy O’Brien To Captain Ireland Under-20s As Squad Is Announced 22 January 2018
“At PwC we take pride in our relentless focus on developing talent and being the ‘best that we can be’ to ensure the greatest results for our people, our clients and our business partners. We know that Irish Rugby shares the same approach. “The acceleration of talent from this grade to the full senior squad has become more pronounced in recent seasons and we look forward to many of the 2018 team making the same jump in the future. We wish the team the very best of luck. #FutureisGreen.” After the opening clash with France at Stade Amédée Domenech, the Ireland U-20s will play three successive home games against Italy, Wales and Scotland on Friday nights at Donnybrook, with the series of home fixtures again being sponsored by Electric Ireland. Their Championship run will conclude with a trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to face England on Friday, March 16, in a double header with the Ireland and England Women’s teams.
Positive Signs For Ireland Under-20s Despite Bordeaux Defeat PwC’s Feargal O’Rourke with the Ireland Under-20sFeargal O’Rourke, PwC Managing Partner, is pictured at today’s media launch with Ireland Under-20 squad members Diarmuid Barron, Tommy O’Brien, Jonny Stewart and Sean Masterson© Ryan Byrne/www.Inpho.ieThe Ireland Under-20 squad, sponsored by PwC, has been announced for the 2018 Under-20 Six Nations Championship by head coach Noel McNamara. The 32-man squad features 11 players who were capped across last season’s Under-20 Six Nations tournament and World Rugby Under-20 Championship. In the forwards, prop Jordan Duggan, hookers Ronan Kelleher and Diarmuid Barron, along with back rower Sean Masterson, all featured last season, as did seven of the backs selected - scrum half Jonny Stewart, out-half Conor Dean, centres Angus Curtis, David McCarthy and Tommy O’Brien along with back-three players Mark Keane and Michael Silvester. UCD and Leinster ‘A’ regular Tommy O’Brien will captain the side. Commenting on the squad selection, new Ireland Under-20 head coach Noel McNamara said: “It’s an exciting time for the players and the coaching team. There have been some tight calls across the board and it’s great to see that competition for places. “Also, with 11 players who were involved last season, there is some good experience across the squad. The players have all been working hard over the past number of months and we’re confident in the ability of the squad that we have selected.” Looking forward to the Six Nations campaign which begins for Ireland away to France in Brive on Friday, February 2, Feargal O’Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC, said: “As longstanding sponsors of Irish Rugby, we have built an established and mutually beneficial relationship with the IRFU. “With that in mind, we are excited to kick off this year’s Under-20 Six Nations Championship as we head into our thirteenth year as sponsors of the Ireland Under-20 squad. We are enormously proud to be associated with such a talented and hardworking team and we look forward to supporting them and their coaching staff through the 2018 campaign.
2 February 2018, 10:48 pm ::Match Report By Editor A stirring second half fight-back from the Ireland Under-20s fell short as fortune favoured France in a 34-24 Six Nations win for the hosts in Bordeaux.Second half tries from Ulster-capped scrum half Jonny Stewart and debutant Munster Academy winger James McCarthy, coupled with a penalty try, saw Noel McNamara’s new-look side cut the deficit to just three points after trailing 22-3 at half-time.But late French pressure yielded a clinching try from powerful replacement prop Demba Bamba, and Ireland’s luck was summed up when Harry Byrne missed a last-minute penalty which would have earned them a deserved losing bonus point. McNamara and his fellow coaches, including Ireland great Paul O’Connell, will take plenty of positives from that second half performance, while also acknowledging that the earlier mistakes need to be ironed out for their first home game against Italy at Donnybrook next Friday (kickoff 7.15pm).French out-half Romain Ntamack - son of former French star Emile Ntamack - was hugely influential in the opening 40 minutes with a 17-point haul, including two well-taken tries. Busy flanker Ibrahim
Diallo also touched down from a clever 26th-minute lineout move.A lone Byrne penalty had the gap down to 10-3 at one stage, but Ireland, who fell 19 points in arrears by half-time, were well contained by the physical French rush defence until some tactical tweaks saw them make a real
contest of it in the third quarter.New head coach McNamara gave debuts to nine players in the starting XV, including six up front, while UCD and Leinster ‘A’ star Tommy O’Brien took on the captaincy role at centre as Ireland targeted their first away win over France at U-20 level since 2012. However, good hands from the French half-backs released Clément Laporte up the left wing for the first incision, Ireland then leaking a penalty for offside and Ntamack landed the resulting third-minute kick for a 3-0 lead.The all-Leinster front row of Jordan Duggan, Ronan Kelleher and Jack Aungier were rock solid on France’s first scrum, and after a stray pass from the hosts, Stewart probed well with the boot, gaining some decent territory on the left hand side.A couple of soft penalties allowed France to get into try-scoring range past the 10-minute mark, and although Ireland sacked the maul and Ulster prospects Matthew Dalton and Aaron Hall led the tackle count, space was created on the right for Ntamack to dart over and convert his own try.Ireland’s response was encouraging, the maul doing some damage but Jack O’Sullivan was stripped of possession by Arthur Vincent after a strong carry from the UCC number 8, who was the best ground gainer of the Irish forwards.A promising Irish attack was foiled a few minutes later, skipper O’Brien’s attempted offload in the French 22 being intercepted by full-back Laporte. Nonetheless, loosehead Duggan forced a scrum penalty against Daniel Brennan and Byrne’s right-sided kick opened Ireland’s account.Poor refereeing by England’s Christophe Ridley, who penalised an Irish player who was held in at a ruck and then missed some interference in midfield by France, allowed les Bleuets to build for a second try. Diallo crashed over in the right corner, profiting from Killian Geraci’s quick tap-down when Ireland expected a maul. It got worse for McNamara’s charges just a couple of minutes later when the Irish defence was sucked in and Ntamack sliced in between Kelleher and winger Peter Sullivan and had the pace to make the line, to the left of the posts. His well-struck conversion made it 22-3.Ireland improved as half-time loomed, turnover ball seeing Sullivan kick through up into the 22 and then the forwards forced a scrum with some muscular maul defence. Frustratingly, Aungier was pinged at the scrum and O’Brien, Kelleher and David McCarthy had to stand tall in defence to force a knock-on and avoid a potential bonus point score.The second half was evenly-balanced until France got on the front foot again, prop Hassane Kolingar barging up towards the posts before Ireland were able to successfully defend the maul and James McCarthy’s crucial tackle on Pierre-Louis Barassi led to a relieving scrum.Lively replacement Sean Masterson gave his side a further boost with a well-won penalty at the breakdown, and Ireland soon breathed new life into this exciting Championship opener. Aungier split the defence with a powerful carry, and from Byrne’s stabbed kick through, Iban Etcheverry tackled Michael Silvester early and referee Ridley awarded a penalty try despite Sullivan and O’Brien both grounding the ball.The penalties were now coming in Ireland’s favour as France lost their discipline. The hosts successfully defended a maul near the right corner, before the match officials missed a dummy throw by the French hooker Maxime Lamothe.Ireland used a subsequent penalty to set up another close-in maul and Stewart brilliantly broke from the back
to evade Lamothe along the right touchline and dive over in the corner. Byrne swung over an excellent conversion to cut the gap to 22-17 just on the hour mark.France’s decision to replace some of their key men, including Ntamack and captain Arthur Coville, appeared to be back-firing but luck was on their side when Maxence Lemardelet was ruled not to have knocked on from a kick through and replacement scrum half Jules Gimbert, who had been offside from the initial kick, managed to ground the loose ball for the bonus point try.10 points was now the difference and Ireland let a gilt-edged maul opportunity go when Thomas Lavault disrupted Jack Dunne at a close-in lineout and forced a turnover. Still, Ireland showed a lot of character and resilience to bounce back with an excellent counter-attacking try. James McCarthy drew in two defenders past halfway and sent O’Brien flying up the left touchline before his return pass put the Munster Academy back racing over for a try to the left of the posts.Byrne, who was increasingly influential in exposing the space behind the French defence, added a well-struck conversion to give Ireland a real shot at 27-24 down and seven minutes left to play. Unfortunately, replacement James French was caught offside from a richoceting kick, allowing les Bleuets to turn the screw through their bigger pack. Ireland were hanging on after collapsing a maul and then holding Geraci up soon after, but what appeared to be a knock-on from the French scrum was not whistled up by Ridley, and the pressure told when Bamba forced his way over.Replacement Louis Carbonel’s crisp conversion took the home side well out of Ireland’s reach at 34-24, and although the visitors dug their heels in to force a long range penalty in the dying seconds, Byrne nudged his kick just the wrong side of the target. TIME LINE: 3 minutes - France penalty: Romain Ntamack - 3-0; 13 mins - France try: Romain Ntamack - 8-0; conversion: Romain Ntamack - 10-0; 23 mins - Ireland penalty: Harry Byrne - 10-3; 26 mins - France try: Ibrahim Diallo - 15-3; 29 mins - France try: Romain Ntamack - 20-3; conversion: Romain Ntamack - 22-3; Half-time - France 22 Ireland 3; 53 mins - Ireland try: Penalty try & con - 22-10; 53 mins - France yellow card: Iban Etcheverry; 59 mins - Ireland try: Jonny Stewart - 22-15; conversion: Harry Byrne - 22-17; 66 mins - France try: Jules Gimbert 27-17; conversion: missed by Louis Carbonel - 27-17; 73 mins - Ireland try: James McCarthy - 27-22; conversion: Harry Byrne - 27-24; 79 mins - France try: Demba Bamba - 32-24; conversion: Louis Carbonel - 34-24; 80+2 mins - Ireland penalty: missed by Harry Byrne - 34-24; Full-time Ireland 34 France 24
Italy Under-20s gave Ireland an almighty scare as their 14 men eventually went down 38-34 in the Under-20s Six Nations in Donnybrook.
The Azzurrini lost Jacopo Bianchi to a red card after just nine minutes, but still ran in five tries and took two losing bonus points from the game. James McCarthy crossed twice for the Irish in the first half, as the home team ran in four tries to lead 31-12. However, they had to withstand an almighty comeback before eventually prevailing by four points. The visitors had made the perfect start with an intercept try from Tommaso Coppo after just two minutes, picking the ball off in midfield. However that lead was short-lived, with Ireland coming back down the
other end and James McCarthy finishing in the left corner after good work from fellow winger Peter Sullivan to make the initial break. At 5-5, the game was evenly poised, but on nine minutes Italy were dealt a hammer blow when flanker Jacopo Bianchi was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Jack Dunne, leaving the visitors to play with 14 men for the rest of the game. Ireland took full advantage of the extra man, scoring two tries in the space of three minutes through scrum-half Hugh O’Sullivan and then lock Cormac Daly, both sniping from close range but in very different styles - O’Sullivan stepped the last defender, while Daly simply used his reach to stretch over. Just over 10 mins gone in Donnybrook and it’s Ireland U20 5-5 Italy U20. Harry Byrne converted both to make it 19-5 and after an Antonio Rizzi penalty, he was on target again when McCarthy grabbed his second, chipping over the top and leaping acrobatically when it landed awkwardly for the covering defence.By this point Ireland had the bonus point in the bag, and they ran in a fifth try through Sullivan on the right.Italy had the final say of the half, with Niccolo Cannone going over from close range and Rizzi’s conversion cutting the deficit to 31-15 at the break.Ireland flew out of the blocks in the second half, with Jack Aungier powering his way over and Byrne converting.But Italy responded through centre Damiano Mazza after the pack had been stopped on the line.He was quickly followed by Rizzi, with the fly-half converting the second to make it 38-27, finishing off a brilliant score as centres Michelangelo Biondelli and Mazza combined wonderfully in the build-up.Tommy O’Brien was denied what would have surely been the decisive score for Ireland when Michael Silvester put a foot in touch in the build-up.And in the closing stages it was replacement Edoardo Iachizzi who forced his way over, with Rizzi again slotting the snap conversion. But after getting the ball back, they could not go the length of the field to complete the most unlikely of comebacks, having to settle for the two points. James Botham’s double inspired a fast-starting Wales Under-20s to victory over Ireland in Donnybrook but they had to hold on at the end in an 11-try thriller.
Tommy Rogers, Max Williams and Botham all went over in the first quarter of the game to open up a 19-3 lead for Wales. Angus Curtis’ score for the hosts gave them a foothold before the break but Tommy Reffell’s fine score and Botham’s second soon after half time looked to have put Wales home and hosed. But Ireland rolled up their sleeves and a double from No.8 Jack O’Sullivan - the first a stunning break - brought them right back into the contest at 31-24. Click here to view the 2018 Under-20s Six Nations table after three rounds, Callum Carson’s fine break and score for Wales then looked like it had ended it but Johnny Stewart’s fourth for Ireland kept them in touch. When Cai Evans slotted a late penalty to stretch the lead back to ten points Wales could breathe but back came Ireland as Tommy O’Brien scorched through the middle but it was not quite enough. Both sides came into the clash with one loss and one win from the first two rounds, but Wales had downed Ireland last year in a high-scoring affair. And it was the visitors who came storming out of the gate, Wing Rogers the try scorer after a superb break and offload from No.8 Taine Basham to release him. Cai Evans missed with the extras but Wales were rampant, clinically punishing Irish errors and their second try arrived on eight minutes. Lock Williams forced his way over from close range and this time Evans made no mistake with the extras to stretch the lead out to 12-0. Ireland needed a response and it was provided by Harry Byrne who slotted a penalty just after the quarter-hour mark. But that was a false dawn for the hosts and Wales had a third soon after, Botham forcing his way over from close range after a catastrophic period of play in the Irish defence failing to gather a loose ball. Before the break Ireland were denied a try by the TMO, but then Curtis went over to reduce arrears after a fine break from hooker Ronan Kelleher, Byrne converting and it was 19-10 at the interval. “It was a fantastic game,” says #WalesU20 head coach Jason Strange. “Both teams played it in the right spirit.” But any Irish momentum heading into the second half was soon ended by Reffell, the flanker bursting clear and Evans converting for a 16-point lead. And when Botham profited before the hour mark, muscling over from close range after an overthrown Ireland lineout, Wales looked home and hosed. But two quickfire scores from No.8 O’Sullivan, the first a galloping long-range effort and the latter a predatory close-range one, turned the game on its head once again. Ireland were now only seven points behind but once again Wales cut through in incisive fashion, their sixth score of the game - centre Callum Carson slicing through for the score. Evans could not add the extras through and into the final quarter of an hour Ireland trailed 38-24. And yet still the drama continued, scrum-half Stewart sliding over for the hosts fourth’ and with Byrne’s conversion it was only 38-31.
O’Sullivan double fires Ireland Under-20s to victory
anyone’s game but seven minutes from time Ireland wrapped up both the win and the bonus point. It was the impressive O’Sullivan once again who made the difference, bursting through midfield and racing over for his second try of the evening. Byrne’s conversion made it 30-18. The Scots had the final word however, with replacement prop Nathan McBeth going over from close range to earn them a losing bonus point, with Thompson converting with the final kick
England Under-20s beat Ireland but miss out on title
Jack O’Sullivan scored two tries as Ireland Under-20s eventually saw off a stubborn Scottish challenge 30-25 to take their second win of the Under-20s Six Nations. After their narrow defeat to Wales last time out, the Irish made the perfect start, leading 18-6 at the break but Scotland were back to within five points with ten minutes remaining. That is when O’Sullivan popped up for his second try of the game to end Scottish hopes. The home side had made the perfect start with a great Michael Silvester break setting up O’Sullivan to power his way over. Harry Byrne continued his fine kicking record in the Under-20s Six Nations with the conversion to make it 7-0. He then added two penalties to stretch the lead to 13-0 for the home side. Scotland were struggling to match the intensity that they had shown against England when they came from behind to win their first match, but they started to grow into the game, with Ross Thompson slotting three points after Ireland were slow rolling away just in front of their own line. He added another just after the half-hour following a great break from skipper Robbie Smith, cutting the deficit back to seven points. Silvester was proving a real danger when attacking from deep though, and it was from one loose kick that he raced 50 metres up into the Scottish 22. O’Sullivan was held up just over the line once the ball had been recycled, but from the resulting scrum he picked and went. While the Scottish defence stopped him, Matthew Agnew was in support to force his way over. Byrne was off-target with his conversion attempt this time but Ireland led 18-6 at the break. Scotland needed to score first in the second half, and they did just that as Angus Kernohan could not collect a grubber through. Instead it was Scottish winger Kyle Rowe who took advantage of the bouncing ball to dot down the try. Thompson was off-target with his conversion, but Scotland seemed to have the momentum. They got back into the Irish 22, but the home side were able to turn it over, break back the other way and after another Silvester break, it was Matthew Dalton who got over. Byrne’s conversion went wide and Ireland led 2311. But that lead lasted barely a minute before Scotland hit back with a rolling maul, finished off by blindside flanker Martin Hughes. Thompson’s excellent conversion out cut the deficit back to five points. It was
A late flourish saw England Under-20s run out comfortable 48-15 winners against Ireland at the Ricoh Arena, but it was not enough to wrestle the Championship from France’s grasp. A late flourish saw England Under-20s run out comfortable 48-15 winners against Ireland at the Ricoh Arena, but it was not enough to wrestle the Championship from France’s grasp. The hosts went into their final game knowing they would need Les Bleus to slip up against Wales in Colwyn Bay to retain their trophy, but the French secured the bonus-point win they required to lift the 2018 Under-20 Six Nations trophy. Ultimately, England’s shock defeat to Scotland proved their downfall as even a comprehensive seven-try victory against Ireland was not enough to leapfrog France. The pressure of the task ahead appeared to weigh on England in the opening minutes as Ireland opened the scoring when James Hume caught Harry Byrne’s grubber kick and touched down. Ben Loader eased English nerves with a try from James Grayson’s crosskick, but Irish skipper Tommy O’Brien restored the visitors’ lead with a try on 15 minutes, converted by Byrne. Fraser Dingwall’s try and Tom Hardwick’s conversion brought the scores level, before the two sides traded penalties to go into the half-time break all square at 15-apiece. Byrne’s penalty at the end of the first half would turn out to be Ireland’s last score of the match, though, as England ran riot in the second half.
Ben White’s score on 56 minutes, converted by Hardwick, started the rush of tries after man of the match Gabriel Ibitoye set him up with an excellent offload. Ireland’s O’Brien was then sent to the sin-bin for an illegal challenge, with substitute Joe Heyes barrelling over the tryline to secure England’s bonus point soon after. A rampant Ibitoye piled on the misery for Ireland after picking up a loose ball and sprinting over in the 70th minute, with Hardwick adding the extras once more. Josh Basham and captain Ben Earl added two further tries in the final ten minutes, with Hardwick converting one of them, as England finished 48-15 winners. However, France’s 24-3 triumph against Wales saw them claim the title for the first time since they won the Grand Slam in 2014 as England were left to rue what might have been.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Squad 2018 Under-20 Six Nations Championship
Backs: Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)Angus Curtis (Queen's University/Ulster) Conor Dean (St. Mary's College/Leinster) Conor Hayes (Young Munster/Munster) Mark Keane (Queen's University) Angus Kernohan (Ballymena/Ulster) David McCarthy (Garryowen/Munster) James McCarthy (UL Bohemians/Munster) Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster) Tommy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster) (capt.) Hugh O'Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster) Jonny Stewart (Queen's University/Ulster)Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster) Peter Sullivan (Lansdowne/Leinster) Forwards : Jack Aungier (St. Mary's College/Leinster) Matthew Agnew (Ballymenia/Ulster) Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen/Munster) Joe Byrne (Dublin University/Leinster) Ronan Coffey (Shannon/Munster) Matthew Dalton (Malone/Ulster) Cormac Daly (Clontarf/Leinster) Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster) Eoghan Clarke (Wanderers FC/Leinster) Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster) Joe Dunleavy (Malone/Ulster) James French (UCC/Munster) Aaron Hall (Ballynahinch/Ulster) Max Kearney (Dublin University/Leinster) Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/ Leinster) Sean Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht) Jack O'Sullivan (UCC/Munster) Tom O'Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
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