Monday 25 September 2017

Ruddock sweats on Daly fitness for crucial Baby Blacks clash

Tom Daly
Tom Daly

John Fallon

Ireland U-20 goal-kicker Tom Daly is a major doubt for their crunch clash with New Zealand which will decide who goes through to the semi-finals of the Junior World Championship.

Ireland U-20 goal-kicker Tom Daly is a major doubt for their crunch clash with New Zealand which will decide who goes through to the semi-finals of the Junior World Championship.

Daly suffered a hand injury in the 46-3 win over Fiji on Sunday evening in Vannes and is rated doubtful for the showdown with the Baby Blacks.

The Carlow native has been in superb form in the centre, kicking 25 points so far in the tournament and helping Ireland to win both their opening games.

He scored 14 points in the 19-15 win over Australia and then added another three penalties and a conversion in the facile win over the Fijians. Coach Mike Ruddock and his management team will assess the physio student over the coming days.

Daly is the main injury worry after fears abated about lock Sean McCarthy, who went off with a stinger on Sunday evening. The Currow native is bidding to follow in the path of his uncle Mick Galwey, with McCarthy the latest to come off the north Kerry village production line.

McCarthy, at 114kg the heaviest player in the Irish U-20 squad, is pragmatic about the meeting with the Baby Blacks on Thursday.

"We came out here to win it, and if we lose against the All Blacks that would nearly ruin our chances," he said. "It's winner takes all now and we'll be looking forward to it."

The former Rockwell College student is now in University of Limerick and his uncle occasionally offers a small bit of advice. "Mick will send you a text every now and then, but he lets me do my own thing. He is a good man for a few words of advice.

"We are a small and proud parish near Castleisland and we like our rugby a lot. It is a great experience to be able to play in a tournament like this.

"We are happy just to get over the first two games and now we'll bring on that bit of confidence to New Zealand and hopefully we can top the group. That's what we are aiming for."

Irish Independent

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