Monday 26 September 2016

Porter backs Carolan's history boys to go 'all the way'

John Fallon

Published 15/06/2016 | 02:30

Porter is one of 13 changes that coach Nigel Carolan has made to the team to face Georgia in their final pool game. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Porter is one of 13 changes that coach Nigel Carolan has made to the team to face Georgia in their final pool game. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Prop Andrew Porter insists that Ireland can win the World Rugby U-20 crown for the first time, following Saturday's momentous victory over New Zealand.

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Porter is one of 13 changes that coach Nigel Carolan has made to the team to face Georgia in their final pool game.

A win this afternoon (5.30) will secure just a second semi-final appearance for Ireland in the ninth edition of the U-20s championship, and UCD man Porter - one of just a handful of survivors from last year's squad - is confident that this bunch of players can go all the way.

"I think we can go all the way, all of the guys believe we can. We all believed we could beat New Zealand, world champions last year.

"When you believe you can do something you can do anything," said the former St Andrew's pupil.

Porter has started both games to date, against Wales and the Baby Blacks, but also remembers last year's seventh-placed finish and knows there is plenty of hard work to be done.

"We have a very quick turnaround between these games so it's all about recovery in between," he said.

Sons

Flanker Greg Jones and winger Hugo Keenan are the two players who have been asked to line out of their third start in the space of eight days, and interestingly three of the 12 new faces that will feature for Ireland this evening are the sons of former Irish senior internationals.

Centre Paul Kiernan, winger Terry Kennedy and scrum-half Niall Saunders - sons of Michael, Terry and Rob, respectively, are all handed first starts of the tournament.

Added to that, the tight-head berth will be filled by Clontarf's Vakh Abdaladze, whose father played international rugby for today's opponents Georgia.

With Munster's Bill Johnston ruled out of the remainder of the competition due to a shoulder injury, Johnny McPhillips comes into the starting out-half shirt - he came on for the injured Johnston in the first half against New Zealand.

And as well as McPhillips, all of the seven other replacements named for the game against the Baby Blacks have been handed starts for this evening's game, while Carolan has kept some experienced faces on the bench in case they are needed.

Ireland U-20s: B Connon (Newcastle Falcons); T Kennedy (St Mary's), J O'Brien (UCD), P Kiernan (c) (UCC), H Keenan (UCD); J McPhillips (Queen's University), N Saunders (Epsom College); J Bollard (Dublin University), V O'Brien (Cork Con), V Abdaladze (Clontarf); E Mintern (Cork Constitution), S O'Connor (Cashel); G Jones (UCD), C Boomer (Ballymena), K Brown (Shannon). Reps: A McBurney (Ballymena), A Porter (UCD), A Coyle (Naas), J Ryan (Lansdowne), M Deegan (Lansdowne), S Kerins (Sligo), S Daly (Cork Constitution), J Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins).

Irish Independent

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