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In brief: IRB Junior World Championships in Italy

Leinster and Ulster will provide the bulk of the Ireland U-20 team at next month's IRB Junior World Championships in Italy.

Mike Ruddock yesterday named a 26-man squad for the tournament, which kicks off on June 10.

Ireland will open their campaign against England, who beat them 46-15 at the U-20 Six Nations, before facing South Africa and Scotland.

The former Wales coach will be heartened that some of his big names are available after being forced to plan without the likes of Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall and Andrew Conway during the spring as they were being used by their provinces.

Twelve players from Leinster will be joined by eight Ulstermen, four from Connacht, two Munster and exile Kieran Marmion in the squad.

THE IRB have released their anti-doping testing programme results, revealing that 1,288 drug tests were carried out in 2010, resulting in just five positive tests.

Three players were banned for having anabolic agents in their system, while two tested positive for cannabis.

"It is important that we ensure that our players have access to the best educational framework in the area of anti-doping," IRB anti-doping manager Tim Ricketts said.

"This includes education around the dangers of using nutritional supplements, performance-enhancing and recreational drugs."

FORMER Leinster star Rocky Elsom will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season after suffering an ankle injury.

The Australia captain, who is out of contract at the end of the season and unlikely to remain at the Brumbies next season, has turned his attention to this year's World Cup. The blindside has only played once this season so far after spending six months on the sideline with a hamstring injury and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will be sweating on the key man's fitness.

"He just needs to get himself ready for the World Cup now," Brumbies coach Tony Rea said.

"It's just disappointing for him -- he's worked so hard to get back."

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw became the latest high-profile player to re-sign with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) yesterday, ensuring the retention of a core of experienced players after this year's World Cup.

The 30-year-old, three-time International Player of the Year, who will lead the hosts in their bid to win a first World Cup since 1987 later this year, signed a four-year deal to stay in New Zealand until 2015.

Irish Independent