Monday 20 November 2017

Irish rugby production line is working well - Twomey

Ireland U20 captain James Ryan Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ireland U20 captain James Ryan Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Ireland assistant coach Conor Twomey said the quality of the displays being produced at the World Rugby U-20 Championship in Manchester is testimony to the work being done all over the country producing young players.

Twomey has worked at various levels in Munster with clubs and the province and is a good position to assess the quality of player coming through.

On Monday, Ireland will bid to reach the final of the championship for the first time in its nine-year history when they take on Argentina at the Manchester City Academy Stadium.

One of the functions of this competition is to develop players for the future, with some placing more emphasis on performance than winning.

"That seems to be question I have been asked a couple of times, is it about the performance or is it about winning? The answer I come up with is the performance, people want to see performance, particularly the performance people who are building players of the future.

"I don't think there is a player or a coach here in Manchester that doesn't want to be a world champion and that entails winning, so the combination of both and putting these players into this environment is outstandingly good for their development."

It's the first time Ireland have won all three pool matches and Twomey said it has been a pleasure to work with this squad of players and management.

"They are very close in the group with high skills and probably a lot of stars for the future Irish rugby in this group.

"I wouldn't set this team apart from any other Irish team. It's a really good, well-prepared Irish team. There is a lot of Irish culture in this team and there is a lot of work being done in the provinces particularly," he added.

Meanwhile, Matthew Cosgrove has become the latest Sligo player to be drafted into the Irish squad after his clubmate Cillian Gallagher had his participation ended through injury.

Cosgrove has joined up with the Irish squad in Manchester. Like Gallagher, he is in the Connacht academy system and the 20-year-old has been capped at U-18 level.

Gallagher's worst fears were realised when a scan revealed a labral tear to his shoulder and he returned to Ireland yesterday.

He suffered the injury in the 35-7 win over Georgia and is the third Irish player to have his tournament ended early with prop Conor Kenny injured against Wales and out-half Bill Johnston in the win over New Zealand. Gallagher will be underage next year when the tournament is held in Georgia.

Captain James Ryan, who sat out the Georgia win after picking up a knock to his hip against New Zealand, has fully recovered from his injury.

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