Friday 23 June 2017

Boyle thrilled to lead Ireland U-20s in their quest for world glory

Wexford native Paul Boyle takes over as captain of the Ireland U20 Squad
Wexford native Paul Boyle takes over as captain of the Ireland U20 Squad
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The preparations have been far from ideal but confidence is nevertheless high among the Ireland U-20s squad as they reconvene ahead of their opening World Cup game against Italy in Georgia on May 31.

Nigel Carolan's promotion with Connacht mean that he has left his post with the U-20s, and interim head coach Peter Malone has had to deal with several important injury absentees.

Malone has named six uncapped players in his 28-man squad, including Angus Curtis, son of former Ireland international David.

Wexford native Paul Boyle takes over as captain, with Jack Kelly continuing his recovery from the shoulder injury picked up in the Six Nations. "I got the call yesterday when I was driving my car back to Dublin," said a proud Boyle (above).

"I had a buddy in the car beside me. I had to pull over fast, because it was a surprise to me. I was delighted to get it.

"The lads that have captained the team so far have experience and they'll be able to help me along the way."

Plan

Malone has to plan without Cillian Gallagher, Rob Lyttle, Bill Johnston, Jordan Larmour, Johnny McPhillips and Tommy O'Brien.

The current U-20s have been boosted by seeing three of last year's crop - James Ryan, Andrew Porter and Jacob Stockdale - included in the Ireland senior squad for next month's tour to the USA and Japan.

Malone worked closely with the trio, and in particular Porter, who he believes has the quality to successfully make the transition from loosehead to tighthead.

"You don't lose anything going to tighthead," Malone insisted.

"You give it a year and you can drop back to loosehead if it doesn't work out. His ball carrying, tackling is very, very important and is an extra level that he has on a lot of other props.

"Over time, that is the thing that he will have to watch for - that he still has that impact in his general play. Sometimes a tighthead can get stuck because it takes that bit more out of the legs than the loosehead side.

"We always felt that those three names had great potential to play international rugby. The fact it has happened so quickly and they are in that touring squad is great. It does show the lads here that they are not that far away."

Ireland squad for U-20 World Championship

Forwards: P Boyle (capt), C Connolly, J Conway, G Coombes, P Cooper, C Doris, O Dowling, J Duggan*, J Foley, R Kelleher, S Masterson, T McElroy, G McGrath, M Rea, J Regan, F Wycherley.

Backs: A Curtis*, C Dean*, C Frawley, C Hogan, J Kelly, D McCarthy*, G Mullin, C Nash, J Stafford, J Stewart, M Sylvester*, A Tynan*. * denotes uncapped player at this level.

Irish Independent

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