Ireland U-20s secure second consecutive clean sweep as Richie Murphy promises ‘there’s more to come’

Ireland U-20s team celebrate after their side's victory over England in the U-20 Six Nations Championship. Photo: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Ireland U-20s head coach Richie Murphy echoed his senior counterpart Andy Farrell in declaring that “there is more to come” from his side ahead of the World Cup later this year.

Murphy’s outstanding young team ensured it was a special weekend for Irish rugby by winning two Grand Slams in the space of 24 hours, as they backed up last year’s clean sweep in impressive fashion.

Ireland U-20s got the better of England on a score of 36-24 at a sold-out Musgrave Park to cap a historic weekend for Irish rugby.

Murphy, who was previously part of the senior coaching set-up, said his side had been inspired by what Farrell’s men achieved at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement,” a delighted Murphy told the Irish Independent.

“Not that long ago, even at 20s level, we were happy to win two to three games in the championship. Three games was definitely a good championship and two was reasonably happy.

“So to go two years unbeaten at 20s level in the Six Nations is an incredible achievement, especially with the turnover of players.

“The seniors are doing an immense job of leading the way and definitely inspiring our boys to try and get some of that success. I think Irish rugby is obviously in a very good place.

“We watched the seniors in our team room together. The atmosphere in the room was incredible. The lads were right behind the seniors.

“After the game, I thought it was really interesting to hear the guys analyse the game and analyse the pressures of winning that fifth game in-a-row.”

A brace of tries each from the impressive Brian Gleeson and Hugh Gavin, as well as scores from George Hadden and Fintan Gunne, clinched Ireland’s third Grand Slam in five years at U-20s level.

With the Junior World Cup set to return to the calendar (following the pandemic) in South Africa this summer, Murphy called on his talented youngsters to build on this success.

“We’ve got England in our first match, so that will be another very tough challenge, but it’s one the lads are looking forward to,” Murphy added.

“We’ve always had a look at the season as a whole, so the Six Nations was part of that plan, but there is more to come.”