Saturday 1 November 2014

Reds contingent in U-20s reflects progress – Oliver

Declan Rooney

Published 23/05/2014 | 02:30

Alex Wootton in action for Munster 'A'
Alex Wootton in action for Munster 'A'
Ireland U-20 assistant coach Greig Oliver, left, and Munster A head coach Peter Malone
Ireland U-20 assistant coach Greig Oliver, left, and Munster A head coach Peter Malone

With eight Munster representatives on board, Ireland U-20 assistant coach Greig Oliver says they are looking forward to avenging some Six Nations disappointments at the Junior World Cup in New Zealand.

Ireland have been paired with France, Fiji and Wales in Group C and launch their competition against France on Monday, June 2 at the QBE Stadium in Auckland.

Head coach Mike Ruddock and his side will depart next Tuesday after a two-day camp in Dublin, but the Munster contingent is one less than originally selected, with second-row John Madigan forced to pull out.

"It's tough on John because he had to withdraw because of illness. He misses out, which is a big disappointment for him because he's had a wretched season with illness and injury," said former Scotland scrum-half Oliver.

"We're just hoping he can get himself right going forward. It's a disappointment for the squad as well because he brings another dimension to our plans."

Oliver is the current Munster U-20 coach so he has first-hand knowledge of all the province's underage stars.

Jack O'Donoghue and Alex Wootton are the two representatives with World Cup experience from last year, while he also expects Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Diarmuid Dee, Ryan Foley, Dan Goggin and Darragh Moloney to play major roles in a hectic competition.

"Munster have a good representation alright. In a few of the inter-pros we just felt we weren't competitive enough. We took Leinster to the wire which was great, I think it's reflective on their representation, the boys are coming through there.

"But the lads with previous experience are vital. Peter Dooley, Peadar Timmins, Jack and Alex are valuable not just only in the games, but they can show the other players how to cope with the quick turnarounds," Oliver said.

"I don't think other grades experience that intensity because of the turnaround. You wouldn't expect professional players to deal with it but that's what the competition is.

"We are really looking forward to the World Cup though. We're a couple of players down with Dan Levy missing out and David Busby is now injured, which is a disappointment for them. But still, we are confident of having a good crack at them."

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