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Monday 5 December 2016

Ireland boys can deliver at World Cup

Billy Dardis
Billy Dardis

The Ireland U20s will go to the World Cup with less confidence than they had after the opening two rounds of the Six Nations.

All the positive chat about a Grand Slam was silenced by England (19-14) in a titanic struggle at Donnybrook and the campaign tailed off from there in defeats to a dominant Wales (19-12) and hard-mauling Scots (17-10).

However, this is still a talented group well capable of turning the negatives to positives as they take on Argentina (June 2), Scotland (June 6) and New Zealand (June 10) in Pool C.

The 28-man squad will be made up of 15 Leinstermen, captained by one of them in scrum-half Nick McCarthy, six from Ulster, five from Connacht and two from Munster.

There are eight returning from last year's World Cup, where Ireland qualified for a first semi-final.

They are Ross Byrne, Billy Dardis, Ciaran Gaffney, Oisin Heffernan, McCarthy, Rory Moloney, Josh Murphy and Gary Ringrose with fit-again hooker Sean McNulty playing in the 2014 Six Nations.

There is only one uncapped player at this level in the crafty, diminutive form of Leinster scrum-half Charlie Rock.

Ireland U-20 Squad (28)

S Arnold (Ulster), R Byrne, J Carbery, F Cleary, B Dardis (all Leinster), L Dow (Ulster), J Dwan (Leinster), S Fitzgerald (Munster), C Gaffney (Connacht), O Heffernan, J Loughman (both Leinster), Z McCall (Ulster), N McCarthy (Leinster), S McNulty (Munster), S McVeigh, R Moloney (both Connacht), J Murphy (Leinster), C O'Donnell (Connacht), D O'Connor, C Oliver (both Leinster), J Owens (Ulster), A Porter, G Ringrose, C Rock (all Leinster), C Romaine (Connacht), J Stockdale, A Thompson (both Ulster), N Timoney (Leinster).

Ireland U20

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