Sport Under-20s Six Nations

Saturday 15 December 2018

Jack Dunne juggles theoretical physics and oval ball

Jack Dunne. Photo: Sportsfile
Jack Dunne. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It's unlikely that Irish rugby has ever had such a high-achieving academic second-row pairing.

Cormac Daly is currently studying astrophysics in UCD, while fellow lock Jack Dunne is in Trinity doing theoretical physics.

It begs the question, who is the smarter of the two?

"I like to think me," Dunne laughs.

Having earned a scholarship for rugby at Trinity and also from the Naughton Foundation for his interest in physics, juggling his studies with rugby is challenging but for now at least, sport is taking priority.

"You can only do the rugby once," the Leinster sub-Academy player maintains.

"The mind will be there forever. The main focus when you're young is to go with the rugby. Physics will be there forever. I would love to go into physics, if the rugby doesn't work out. I just find it really interesting."

Dunne is the latest lock off the St Michael's College conveyor belt as he follows the likes of James Ryan and Ross Molony.

At 6ft 7in, Dunne has the athleticism to push on from the Ireland U-20s, but he is the first to admit that he needs to add more to his overall game.

"Obviously with rugby these days, you can't just be an athlete. You need to be an intelligent player. It just helps with reading the game, especially with lineouts.

"Everything (the learnings) just comes very easy so that's very handy. It helps with the work load.

"The lineout comes first and foremost. As a second-row that's your main job. I would like to add a bit more to my game around the field, just with my carrying, tackling defence.

"I'm almost there with the lineout."

Paul O'Connell's role as assistant coach for the U-20s, who play Scotland on Friday night, has Dunne in an ideal place to soak up the huge amount of information that is coming his way.

"It's incredible learning from him," he adds.

"He's just a fountain of knowledge, he knows everything about the lineout.

"He's massive about taking things on board quickly. He bit the head off someone there because they made the same mistake three times!

"It's just so professional in everything that we do."'s U-20s Six Nations coverage is in association with PwC

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