Ruddock rues missing stars
Published 25/02/2011 | 05:00
when the Junior World Cup rolls around, Mike Ruddock might appreciate the senior experience some of his charges are getting, but right now the Welshman must be cursing the provinces, writes Ruaidhri O'Connor.
The former Wales Grand Slam-winning coach has been deprived of a number of his top backs, who have been called up to the senior squads for the Magners League, as Ireland's U-20s face Scotland at Inverness this evening (7.30).
Andrew Conway is involved with Leinster, while Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall will be staking their claim up at Ravenhill for Ulster.
Ruddock's depleted side were torn apart by France in Athlone two weeks ago and they have a chance to bounce back against a struggling Scotland team.
Lock Michael Kearney returns after his brush with an Italian boot three weeks ago, with Munster duo JJ Hanrahan and Shane Buckley promoted from the bench.
Wingers Tiernan O'Halloran and Andrew Boyle are in their second season with the U-20s and have bags of pace, while Paddy Jackson stood out in the France defeat.
Ulster hooker Niall Annett leads the side alongside impressive prop Martin Moore and UCD's James Tracy in the front-row. They will be hoping to dominate a Scottish side beaten twice thus far.
IRELAND U-20 -- M Sherlock (Leinster); T O'Halloran (Connacht), A Kelly (Leinster), JJ Hanrahan (Munster), A Boyle (Leinster); P Jackson (Ulster), B McIlroy (Ulster); J Tracy (Leinster), N Annett (Ulster, capt), M Moore (Leinster); M Kearney (Leinster), D Qualter (Connacht); S Buckley (Munster), A Conneely (Connacht), J Murphy (Leinster). Reps: D Doyle (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), C O'Flaherty (Munster), M Dolan (Connacht), G Quinn McDonogh (Munster), C O'Shea (Leinster).