Friday 17 November 2017

Dardis drawing on schools experience with Terenure as he revels in Carolan's expansive Ireland U-20s game-plan

That freedom to play an expansive game has been one of Ireland U–20s coach Nigel Carolan’s main mantras and it’s no wonder that a player like Billy Dardis is flourishing in it.
That freedom to play an expansive game has been one of Ireland U–20s coach Nigel Carolan’s main mantras and it’s no wonder that a player like Billy Dardis is flourishing in it.
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Like many students with aspirations of playing rugby at the highest level, Billy Dardis made the decision after his Junior Cert to move to one of the so-called 'bigger' Dublin schools.

As he looks back on his decision to leave Newbridge College to join Terenure, he is confident that he made the right call.

"I played a lot of Gaelic in Naas so that really helped. The two sports really complement each other," Dardis said. "I played Gaelic up until fourth year and I suppose I had to commit to one or the other.

"In Terenure we were always given the license to play.

"It (footwork) would be something I work on all the time and something that you can always improve."

That freedom to play an expansive game has been one of Ireland U-20s coach Nigel Carolan's main mantras and it's no wonder that a player like Dardis is flourishing in it.

"Nigel has given us the license to play. He has given the ownership and responsibility over to us so the team is really player-driven," Dardis maintained.

"We have the ability to move the ball and play what's in front of us. Everyone is really enjoying that aspect of it. We can run from deep and just playing in the moment, as Nigel likes to say."

Dardis keeps his place at full-back with Carolan unsurprisingly naming an unchanged team for tomorrow's highly anticipated clash with England at Donnybrook.

As well as training regularly with the Leinster senior squad, Dardis was also involved when the U-20s had a session against Joe Schmidt's Ireland side.

The 20-year old said that his team-mates took a huge amount from going up against the senior side and that is being reflected in their current performances.

"It was so encouraging. We actually did well enough against them," Dardis said.

"Afterwards we spoke about taking confidence and encouragement from that and replicating the senior environment as close as we can.

"We've really upped it in training. Everyone is really switched on and the intensity levels are incredible. It's a good environment to be involved in."

Ireland U-20s (v England) - B Dardis; J Owens, G Ringrose, S Arnold, S Fitzgerald; R Byrne, N McCarthy (c); J Loughman, Z McCall, O Heffernan; D O'Connor, A Thompson; J Murphy, R Moloney, L Dow. Reps: A McBurney, M Lagan, C O'Donnell, C Romaine, N Timoney, J Cullen, J Carbery, H Brewer.

Irish Independent

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