Sport Rugby

Thursday 26 April 2018

Skipper McCarthy confident Irish U-20s can deal with heat

John Fallon

Ireland captain Nick McCarthy believes his men have become accustomed to the heat as they prepare for another afternoon kick-off tomorrow when they take on Scotland in the second round of the World Rugby U-20 Championship.

Temperatures are continuing to be in the high 20s at the team training base in Brescia in northern Italy, but the players have become acclimatised.

Tuesday's dramatic 18-16 win over Argentina in scorching weather took its toll, but the scrum-half was delighted with the way his men responded to the task.

"Most of us have never played in those kind of conditions so it is a massive test for us. It was a really tough game, the Argies really put it up to us and made it very difficult and fought right until the end," he said.

"But I think after that game we are going to be a little bit more used to it coming into the Scotland game, and it is the same for Scotland now so there is nothing we can do about it."

The squad trained yesterday in Brescia and will also hold their captain's run there today before making the short journey to Stadio San Michele in Calvisano to take on a Scottish side who beat Ireland 17-10 at Netherdale in the final Six Nations game of this year's campaign.

"We have got a momentum now which is great but there is a lot of work left still to go so we are looking forward to it," added McCarthy.

Coach Nigel Carolan has no new injury worries. Prop Liam O'Connor has been drafted in to replace the injured Jeremy Loughman, while winger Ciaran Gaffney, a late withdrawal with an ankle injury against Argentina, is also being monitored.

"It's a very short turnaround but we have planned for that and all of the focus now is on Scotland and everyone is looking forward to that," said the Irish coach.

The Scots were hammered 68-10 by a rampant New Zealand side in their opening game on Tuesday night in Parma, but held back some of their key players for the Ireland clash.

Scotland are also based in Brescia and captain Jamie Ritchie said they are anxious to bounce back after the nine-try mauling by the Baby Blacks.

"I think for us, it is about playing for the full 80 minutes as well. For the first 20 minutes we were there or thereabouts, we were beating them for quite a while as well," said the Dundee native who made his Pro12 debut for Edinburgh against Leinster last October.

"For us it is just about playing for the full 80 and really getting stuck into a team like that because they don't like pressure. So that is what we need to work on."

Scotland will wrap up their pool campaign against Argentina in Calvisano on Wednesday afternoon, with Ireland taking on New Zealand that night in Viadana.

Irish Independent

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