Thursday 23 November 2017

Carolan urging U-20s to learn from past mistakes

Nigel Carolan (SPORTSFILE)
Nigel Carolan (SPORTSFILE)
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It was in last year's reverse fixture that the wheels began to come off of Ireland U-20s' Six Nations campaign and this evening (6.05) as they travel to Newcastle, they do so in a far worse state than when they welcomed England to Dublin at the same stage.

Rewind 12 months and Nigel Carolan's youngsters were flying high with two wins from two, but the defeat to England was followed by a further two losses.

This time around, Ireland are in desperate need of getting a point on the board as two defeats from their opening two games has left them well out of contention for the title.

Despite his side's poor form, Carolan is remaining positive ahead of another daunting trip.

"For us, we need to be accurate and that's our message," the coach said.

"We know that if our passes stick and we can make our tackles, we can get our noses in front. The key for us if we do get or noses in front is try and stay in front and limit the risk that we have. After England suffered the defeat to Scotland in the first game, they overcame Italy pretty easily last week so I hope they're going to underestimate us.

"I hope they see us as maybe a pushover. I hope to use that to our advantage, and if we can just be a little bit more accurate, I think we have a good chance."

After a week off following the defeat in France, Carolan is demanding a response from his players against an English side whose tails are up after bouncing back from an early setback against the Scots.

"We tried to put the French game to bed last Tuesday in our review," Carolan maintained.

"We had a good session. It was fairly physical. One of the players commented that if we tackle England as hard as we tackle each other, we're going to give ourselves a better chance. Seventeen or 18 of the guys were training with the senior team in Mullingar and I think they got a lot out of that as well. They understand that they're not a million miles away.

"They're good players. They have the ability to play as well. I think they're in a good frame of mind and they'll need to be going into this game."

Verdict: England

England U-20s - M Malins; G Perkins, J Marchant, C Thacker, O Thorley; M Protheroe, M Green; T West, J Singleton, W Stuart; H Taylor, G Nott; A White, S Smith, C Chick (capt). Reps: C Langdon, J Pope, B Keast, S South, J Willis, J Shillcock, J Simmonds, P Odogwu.

Ireland U-20s - J Power; H Keenan, S Daly, J O'Brien, C O'Brien; J McPhillips, S Keirns; A Porter, A McBurney, C O'Donnell; P Claffey, J Ryan (capt); C Gallagher, W Connors, G Jones. Reps: S Fenton, J Bollard, B Betts, S O'Connor, K Brown, P Poland, B Connon, M Byrne.

England U-20s v Ireland U-20s,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 6.05

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