Sunday 25 February 2018

Cian Romaine makes mark with Carolan's Ireland U-20s

Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan
Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan

John Fallon

Connacht academy manager Nigel Carolan has had the perfect start to life as Ireland U-20 coach and one of the players to catch the eye has been Cian Romaine.

The 19-year-old Buccaneers lock has played two games as a replacement in this year's U-20 Six Nations and after comprehensive victories over Italy and France Ireland are poised for a potential tournament decider against England next Friday as they go in search of the crown since Eric Elwood and Dan McFarland guided them to the title in 2010.

Romaine was one of the try scorers as Ireland ran in seven tries in a 47-15 win over Italy in Biella at the start of the month.

Despite being born in England and going to school in west London, Romaine's allegiance has always been with the green jersey and he is relishing the opportunity of pitting himself against the English.

His mother's family are from Ballyforan in Co Roscommon and he spent his school holidays there each year.

"I'd be over here pretty much every holiday, every chance I could get I would be over here. My plans when I was young was to move over here and go to Trinity because that was the only college I knew over here in Ireland.

"But as soon as I had the opportunity to come over for rugby, I took it straight away."

He was brought into the Connacht sub-academy by Carolan, joined Buccaneers, and has not looked back since.

"I did a training camp at Buccaneers when I was about 13, 14 just when I was getting into rugby, so it was definitely going to be my first choice as a club when I came," said Romaine, who grew up in Ealing and whose dad's family come from Grenada in the Caribbean.

Gloucester slip to narrow defeat

Gloucester slipped to their first defeat in three Premiership matches when their winless run at Welford Road, which goes back to 2007, continued at the weekend when they went down 18-15 to Leicester in an exciting contest.

Gloucester, after narrow wins over Saracens and Exeter, had a chance to equalise five minutes from time but James Hook's penalty from inside his own half fell short.

Hook kicked five penalties in the contest, with the sides level at 9-9 apiece at the break.

But Gloucester never looked like getting on top against a Leicester side also badly in need of points in the race for play-off places.

The game could have gone either way in the final quarter but Freddie Burns, who kicked all of Leicester's points, landed his sixth penalty after Charlie Sharples was binned 12 minutes from time. The result sees Gloucester in ninth place in the Premiership with eight games left in the campaign, four of which will take place before Connacht visit Kingsholm on April 3.

Gloucester should get back to winning ways tomorrow when they take on basement side London Welsh.

The exiles have lost all 14 games this season and that's unlikely to change when they visit Kingsholm.

Gloucester can't afford to lose any more ground in what will be their second last home game before playing Connacht.

They will be away to Wasps next weekend and then host Northampton Saints the following weekend.

And David Humphreys' men will then travel to play Sale Sharks the week before they entertain Connacht in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup in April.

Irish Independent

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