Ryan an injury concern as U-20s gear up for World Cup
Team captain James Ryan is Ireland's biggest injury worry as they prepare for the opening game of the Rugby World U-20 Championship in Manchester tomorrow.
The 6ft 8in second row is troubled by a calf injury but coach Nigel Carolan is confident the Lansdowne clubman will be fit to lead the team into action against Six Nations champions Wales.
The former St Michael's College player is central to Ireland's hopes in a difficult pool which also includes champions New Zealand and Georgia.
All three of Ireland's group games will take place at the Manchester City Academy ground adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, starting against Wales tomorrow evening.
Ireland will bid for a first ever win over New Zealand on Saturday before completing their pool campaign on Wednesday week against Georgia. Munster prospect Bill Johnston is poised to make his U-20 debut having missed the Six Nations through injury and he looks set to be handed the number 10 shirt.
Coach Carolan is hopeful his captain Ryan will be fit to play.
"We have settled in well, training has gone well since we arrived in Manchester and we are all looking forward to the start of the tournament.
"Hopefully James Ryan will be fit and we are looking to make a good start to what is a difficult pool," said Carolan.