Thursday 17 January 2019

Welsh set to end hopes of green shoots

Ireland U20 Tommy O’Brien. Pic: Sportsfile
Ireland U20 Tommy O’Brien. Pic: Sportsfile

It is like Lannigan's Ball this rugby lark.

As Bill Johnston stepped out with a shoulder injury, Johnny McPhillips stepped in last season.

The Munster out-half's attitude is based around a simple mantra: "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready," he said.

It is just as well. The U20 international arena has not been kind.

He has had to work through two shoulder injuries and a high ankle sprain that have curtailed his Ireland experience.

Then, McPhillips suffered the slings and arrow of injury to leave the door open for Johnston to build on what he did against France in Wales this evening.

Colwyn Bay has not been a happy hunting ground for the Irish.

The continued absence of Cillian Gallagher has been balanced out by the PRO12 form of Fineen Wycherley, returning from his Munster debut.

It isn't all bad news by any means.

Ireland have won three, have Jack Kelly back and Jordan Larmour and Tommy O'Brien on form.

Wales: R Williams; C Baldwin, C Lewis, K Williams, R Conbeer; B Jones, D Blacker; R Carre, C Tarrant, K Assiratti, A Dombrandt, S Moore, S Lewis-Hughes, W Jones (capt), A Ward.

Ireland: J Larmour; T O'Brien, J Kelly, C Frawley, C Nash (capt); B Johnston, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, C Connolly, F Wycherley, O Dowling, G Coombes, P Boyle, C Doris.

Verdict: Wales

U20s: Wales v Ireland, Parc Eirias, Tonight (KO6.30, RTé2)

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