The next generation: Five Ireland U20 stars who could make a big impact in professional rugby
The Ireland U20 team wrapped up an up-and-down Six Nations campaign last Friday night with a defeat to England at the Ricoh Arena.
It was a mixed campaign for Noel McNamara's side who finished third with two victories and three defeats. This group will have a chance to learn from their mistakes at this summer's Junior World Cup in France, and it looks like some exciting young talents could be set for the professional ranks in the future.
Here are five players who stood out during the Six Nations:
Jack O'Sullivan (No 8)
Outstanding from start to finish, O'Sullivan was Ireland's best player throughout the tournament. The Munster man certainly enhanced his reputation in the absence of Caelan Doris and having the pair in the same back-row will improve their side immeasurably.
Angus Curtis (centre)
Displayed a sensational range of passing off both sides and regularly put Ireland on the front foot with it. A willing ball carrier, Curtis brought plenty of ballast to the midfield and finished the Six Nations as one of Ireland's key men.
Jack Aungier (tighthead)
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Did remarkably well at scrum time in what was a significant step up from anything he has faced in his fledgling career. Aungier's skills in the loose also impressed and he is certain to have a bright future ahead of him in the pro game.
Tommy O'Brien (centre)
Grew into the tournament as it progressed, O'Brien showed plenty of glimpses of his undoubted potential. Took on the captaincy which was a challenge but the Leinster player's intelligence allowed him to cope with the added responsibility.
Michael Silvester (full-back)
Electric pace from full-back, Silvester was a constant counter-attacking threat. Another who improved with each passing game, the former Clongowes student should be better again at the World Cup.
Independent.ie's World Rugby U-20s Championship coverage is in association with PwC