Wednesday 20 March 2019

U-20s aim to rewrite history in Colwyn Bay

'Seán French is expected to keep his place at inside centre as captain David Hawkshaw faces a long spell on the sidelines having undergone knee surgery last week.'
'Seán French is expected to keep his place at inside centre as captain David Hawkshaw faces a long spell on the sidelines having undergone knee surgery last week.'
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

If the Ireland U-20s are to write themselves into the history books by winning the Grand Slam on Friday night, they will have to create another piece of history by winning at Colwyn Bay for the first time.

While age-grade rugby is obviously cyclical, the Welsh venue has proven to be an extremely unhappy hunting ground for Irish teams over the years.

Influential half-backs Harry Byrne and Craig Casey will be given every chance to make the crucial clash with the team set to be named this afternoon.

If Byrne doesn't make it, Ireland have a very able deputy in Ben Healy, who stepped in at the last minute for last weekend's impressive win over France.

The Tipperary native, who is in the Munster Academy, is well used to the big stage having guided Glenstal to the school's first ever Senior Cup title last year.

Seán French is expected to keep his place at inside centre as captain David Hawkshaw faces a long spell on the sidelines having undergone knee surgery last week.

Having watched both Healy and French perform well against France, Noel McNamara knows he can rely on both exciting young players.

"We've got a philosophy in how we train," the head coach explained.

"Seán and Ben have been a key part of that. We train with pace and a lot of intensity and they would have been flicking in and out over the course of the last number of weeks.

"That was reflected in their performance. They'll say they could have done better, but for first starts - not only in the championship but as an U-20, in pivotal positions, when you try to play with width - I thought they did really well. There's some stuff they could do better, and some we could do better as a team."

Ireland will need to improve if they are to rewrite history in Colwyn Bay.

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