Ireland under-20s forwards coach Colm ‘Cullie’ Tucker has been impressed by England U20s ahead of Thursday night’s match between the two teams.
Their strong, cohesive forwards have looked powerful in their set-pieces and the side are very comfortable with playing direct or going wide.
However, Tucker has been impressed most by another aspect of their game.
“One of the most impressive things for me about the team so far has been their character,” said the forwards coach.
England have gone two from two in the 2021 U20 Six Nations Championship so far with both wins impressing Cullie.
Their bonus-point comeback win against France and their victory over Scotland after being down to 13-men at one point in the game has underlined the strength of Alan Dickens’ side.
“There’s massive threats within them.”
Fortunately, Ireland U20s have multiple threats of their own, particularly among their pack which has been very impressive in the competition so far.
Tucker praised Ireland’s set-pieces in their opening games, noting their 88% success rate at the lineout.
Their scrummaging has also been very good with over 10 players showing their quality in that area of the game.
Ireland’s depth has looked impressive in the two games, especially at prop and Tucker says that, if the quality’s there, the coaches should not be afraid to rotate.
“There’s no doubt our depth will be tested and it’s up to us as coaches to trust our squad.”
The two Alex’s – Kendellen and Soroka – both earned individual praise from their coach.
Cullie described Kendellen as a great leader who wouldn’t ask anything of his fellow players that he would not do.
The coach put Soroka’s versatility down to his hard work off the field – studying set-pieces and other team’s calls.
“His versatility has been a huge asset to us.”
Ireland U20s will play England U20s at 8 pm on Thursday with a Triple Crown at stake for Richie Murphy’s side.
The game will be available to watch on RTÉ News Now and the RTÉ Player.
The starting lineup and bench can be seen here.