Tuesday 20 March 2018

O'Toole determined to stake his Ireland U-20s claim

Ireland's Tom O'Toole. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Tom O'Toole. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Having put in a good performance for the second half against France, and the first against Italy, the task facing the Ireland U-20s this evening is to combine the two into a full 80-minute display.

They welcome a Welsh side to Donnybrook (7.15), who come into the game with an identical record, having won one (Scotland) and lost one (England).

Noel McNamara has largely shown faith in the side that just about managed to get the job done against 14-man Italy last time out, which means that Jack Aungier again gets the nod ahead of Tom O'Toole.

It's not often that two quality tightheads come through at this level at the same time, but both Aungier and O'Toole look to have bright futures ahead of them.

Although born in Drogheda before moving to Meath, O'Toole spent 10 years in Australia with his family.

Dabbled The Ulster prop dabbled with AFL and rugby league but he knew that union was his calling and when the chance to move back to Ireland came about, he jumped at it.

"Even though I was in Australia for 10 years it wasn't quite home," the ex-Campbell College student said.

"When I had the opportunity to come back and potentially play for Ireland at underage level I just thought, 'Yeah, let's do it'."

"The first month was especially tough. I remember my first night boarding sitting there, looking out the window and thinking, 'Oh my God, how did I end up here?' It was just overwhelming, and there is pressure on yourself.

"You don't want to be going back to Australia having not made it or just done two years and then not working out so the first month hit me hard."

The move paid off and O'Toole secured a place in the Ulster Academy. His next job is to force his way into the starting Ireland U-20s team.

He may have to bide his time but once his chance comes, O'Toole will be ready to seize it.

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland U-20s - M Silvester; T O'Brien (capt), J Hume, A Curtis, J McCarthy; H Byrne, J Stewart; J Duggan, R Kelleher, J Aungier; C Daly, J Dunne; S Masterson, M Agnew, J O'Sullivan. Reps: D Barron, J French, T O'Toole, C Ryan, R Foley, H O'Sullivan, C Dean, A Kernohan.

Wales U-20s - C Evans; J Goodchild, C Carson, M Llewellyn, T Rogers; B Jones, H Morgan; R Reynolds, I Harris, R Henry; O Lloyd, M Williams; T Reffell, J Botham, T Basham. Reps: R Carre, D Lake, K Mathias, J Pope, M Morris, D Babos, B Thomas, D Smith.

Ireland U-20s v Wales U-20s,

Live, RTé 2, 7.15

Independent.ie's U-20s Six Nations coverage is in association with PwC

Irish Independent

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