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Humphreys aims to follow in his dad’s footsteps

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Alex Kendellen of Ireland breaks away from Fin Smith of England during the recent U20 Guinness Six Nations match at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Alex Kendellen of Ireland breaks away from Fin Smith of England during the recent U20 Guinness Six Nations match at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Alex Kendellen of Ireland breaks away from Fin Smith of England during the recent U20 Guinness Six Nations match at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Nothing quite like having a dad who has been there, done that. For James Humphreys, as much as he is eager to make his own way in the game, that his dad David played 72 times for Ireland and 163 games for Ulster, is certainly very helpful.

Growing up in Belfast, Humphreys was never too far from a rugby pitch, be that to watch his dad in action, or beginning his own journey, which has led him to starting his second game of Ireland’s U-20s’ Six Nations campaign.

An injury in the opening day win over Scotland hampered the 20-year-old’s progress, but he is fit-again and starts in this afternoon’s clash against Italy.

Humphreys knows his dad will be watching on closely. Recalling his earliest childhood memories, he said: “Just being younger with my grandparents and my mum, turning up at Ravenhill on Friday nights watching him there and down at Lansdowne Road as well. They are great memories from years ago.

“He is very good in the sense that not everything is about rugby. I mean, it’s what a dad is for really – things that don’t happen on a rugby field, that’s what he’s there for.

“He has been great, any bits of advice, I love taking them from him, but he lets me try and play my own game and do my own things. The game is very different nowadays. Good players want to take things from everybody, so having a bit of everything from everyone is good. There are definitely bits and pieces I have taken (from dad) but I just try and forge my own way through it.”

Humphreys will hope to keep making his own way by helping Ireland bounce back against Italy in Cardiff following last week’s defeat to England. 

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Verdict: Ireland

Ireland U-20s – J Osborne; C Rankin, J Postlethwaite, B Carson, C Mullins; J Humphreys, N Doak; G Saunderson, E de Buitléar, S Ilo; M Morissey, H Sheridan; A Soroka, A Kendellen (capt), D Okeke. Reps: R Loughnane, J Boyle, L Bishop, F O’Donoghue, J Kelleher, C McKee, C Forde, J O’Connor, R Crothers, L Vaughan, B Moxham.

Ireland U-20 v Italy U-20,
Live, RTÉ 2, 2.0


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