Monday 25 September 2017

Moloney: Our aim is to claim Six Nations U-20 crown

Rory Moloney admits that the standards that have been set in previous years in the Ireland U-20 squad have forced players to demand more of themselves and of those around them. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Rory Moloney admits that the standards that have been set in previous years in the Ireland U-20 squad have forced players to demand more of themselves and of those around them. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

On the face of it, a fourth place finish at the Junior World Cup would signify a major achievement for Ireland's U-20s side but the sense of disappointment still lingers.

That's according to Rory Moloney who's one of eight players included in this year's Six Nations who have previous experience in the tournament.

The Connacht academy back-row admitted that the standards that have been set in previous years have forced players to demand more of themselves and of those around them.

"Players who were in the squad last year know that they have to stand up a bit and be the leaders," the Portlaoise native said.

"We know that the World Cup was an opportunity missed to be rated as the third best country in the world. We missed out on the final and we were disappointed so I suppose that shows the standards that are there.

"There are always areas you can improve and we'll be hoping to go a step further this year."

Before this year's newly-named IRB Junior World Championship, there is a small matter of the Six Nations and Moloney is determined to use last year's experience to his advantage.

Ireland kick off their campaign in Italy on Friday night and after a recent poor showing against Munster, Moloney is adamant that his side are fully aware of the areas that need improving.

"When we played Munster a few weeks ago, their forwards gave us a bit of a lesson in what we want to be about.

"They showed us that we do have a bit of work to do to front up. It was a bit of a shock to some lads' systems but we have to become more physical in the Six Nations and more ruthless around the ruck area.

"I think we're in a very good place coming into the tournament. Italy is a good starting ground because they're such a physical team," the 20-year old added.

Having also previously worked closely with head coach Nigel Carolan at Connacht, Moloney knows what is expected of him but he is keen to relay the fact that the standards are driven by the players themselves.

"We had a meeting when we first got together where we set out what we want to achieve this year and we're striving to win the Six Nations."

Irish Independent

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