Wednesday 20 September 2017

Carolan hopes for one final push from his U-20s to spoil English party

Nigel Carolan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Nigel Carolan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The Six Nations draws to a close this evening for the current Ireland U-20s but, as was the case with last year's squad, there is a sense that there is still a lot more to come from them in June's World Cup.

Champions England arrive in Donnybrook aiming to complete the Grand Slam and they will provide a stern test that will tell Nigel Carolan where his youngsters really stand.

England have been utterly flawless throughout and have picked up maximum points from their four games to date. Ireland's mission is "spoil the party" but several players including John Foley, who makes his debut, will be eager to stake their claim before travelling to Georgia.

Carolan's side have shown glimpses of what they are capable of but, amongst the group, there is a shared feeling that we haven't seen the best of them just yet.

They will need to be at their best if they are deny England and Carolan has warned that they are coming to Dublin looking to make another statement.

Physical "They are what you expect, they are very physical," he said.

"They bowled over every team they have played so far. They'll be looking to do the same with us. But while the Grand Slam and the Championship has slipped away from us, there is still massive motivation within the group.

"We spoke about it, we're playing against England on our home patch on St Patrick's Day. We hope to spoil the party on them really.

"The lads are chomping at the bit for that. At the end of the day, it's an international game and a superb occasion for these guys. There is a lot of pride at stake."

Carolan has unhappy memories of England after they beat his side in last year's Junior World Cup final but this is a fresh group who are determined to finish what has been a positive campaign on a high.

"The lads have showed glimpses that they are a good side and that they can play some great rugby," Carolan added. "As long as we have emptied ourselves again and if we've given the best that we have to offer, we can look at this as a successful campaign."

Finishing with a win would make the months leading into the World Cup easier to stomach but a tough task awaits.

Verdict: England

Ireland U-20 - J Larmour; T O'Brien, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Nash (capt); B Johnston, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, C Connolly; F Wycherley, O Dowling; J Foley, P Boyle, C Doris. Reps: R Kelleher, G McGrath, M Burke, J Regan, G Coombes, J Stafford, C Fitzgerald, C Hogan.

England U-20 - T Parton; J Cokanasiga, D Morris, W Butler, S Aspland-Robinson; M Malins, H Randall; O Dawe, H Walker, C Knight; J Nay, N Isiekwe; T Curry, B Curry, Z Mercer (capt). Reps: J Blamire, R Adams-Hale, J Morris, J Clegg, J Bayliss, A Mitchell, T Brophy, M Wright.

Ref - P Brousset (France)

Ireland U-20 v England U-20, Live, RTE 2, 6.00

Irish Independent

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