HomeRugbyRugby IrishIreland Under-20 Men's Team Gears Up for 2024 U-20 Six Nations Championship

Ireland Under-20 Men’s Team Gears Up for 2024 U-20 Six Nations Championship

Ireland Under-20 Men’s Team Gears Up for 2024 U-20 Six Nations Championship

The anticipation builds as Ireland’s Under-20 Men’s head coach, Richie Murphy, prepares his talented squad for the upcoming 2024 U-20 Six Nations Championship, set to kick off in just over two weeks.

Last Season’s Triumphs:

Recapping the stellar performance of the Ireland Under-20s in the previous season, securing consecutive Grand Slam titles and reaching the World Rugby U-20 Championship final highlighted their success. The only setback came against a formidable France team.

Returning Players and Leadership:

The 2022/23 graduates, led by newly-appointed captain Evan O’Connell, along with familiar faces like Joe Hopes, Danny Sheahan, Brian Gleeson, and Hugh Gavin, set a high standard. Murphy emphasizes their focus on weekly performance, steering away from the pressure of past achievements.

Performance Over Results:

Addressing expectations, Murphy emphasizes the team’s commitment to being performance-based rather than result-oriented. With a nearly new team, their goal is to take each game as it comes, starting with the formidable challenge of facing France in the first match.

Senior Debuts and Squad Depth:

Three members of the 31-player squad have already made senior debuts for their provinces, showcasing the depth of talent in the IRFU Under-20 Men’s program. Murphy acknowledges the tough decisions in finalizing the squad, with plans to potentially add one more player based on All-Ireland League performances.

Captain Evan O’Connell’s Leadership:

As Evan O’Connell steps into the role of captain, he brings not only physical prowess but also leadership qualities showcased during the previous successful campaign. His uncle, Paul, a former captain, adds a familial connection to Ireland’s rugby legacy.

Energia All-Ireland League Experience:

Most of the squad, including O’Connell, has gained valuable experience in the Energia All-Ireland League, providing a crucial stepping stone from school to senior rugby. Murphy emphasizes the importance of AIL in developing both physicality and speed required at the U-20 level.

Coaching Team and New Additions:

Willie Faloon and Aaron Dundon continue their coaching roles, while former Ireland international Ian Keatley steps in as the new backs coach, succeeding Mark Sexton. Keatley’s impact is already evident, bringing experience and valuable insights to the team.

Preparations and Training Camps:

The squad recently trained with Clontarf’s AIL team and will embark on a short training camp in Belfast, including a session with Queen’s University at Kingspan Stadium. The strategic blend of physicality from the AIL and the desired speed prepares the team for the challenges of the upcoming Six Nations.

As the Ireland Under-20 Men’s team readies itself for the U-20 Six Nations Championship, the blend of seasoned players, emerging talents, and experienced coaching staff positions them as formidable contenders. The focus on performance and continuous improvement echoes their commitment to success on the international stage.

Ireland U20s Squad:

Forwards (17):

Alex Usanov (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Ben Howard (Terenure College RFC/Leinster)
Danny Sheahan (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
Henry Walker (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Stephen Smyth (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
Patreece Bell (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
Jacob Boyd (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Andrew Sparrow (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Joe Hopes (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
Billy Corrigan (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(captain)
Alan Spicer (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Bryn Ward (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Sean Edogbo (UCC RFC/Munster)
Josh Stevens (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Brian Gleeson (Garryowen FC/Munster)
Luke Murphy (Shannon RFC/Munster)

Backs (14):

Oliver Coffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Tadhg Brophy (Naas RFC/Leinster)
Will Wootton (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
Jake O’Riordan (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Jack Murphy (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Sean Naughton (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
Hugo McLaughlin (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Ethan Graham (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Hugh Gavin (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
Rory Ellerby (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Wilhelm de Klerk (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Finn Treacy (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
Stephen Kiely (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Ben O’Connor (UCC RFC/Munster)

Ireland U20 Fixtures:

  • Saturday, 3 February: France v Ireland, Stade Maurice David, 9.10pm local time/8.10pm Irish time
  • Friday, 9 February: Ireland v Italy, Musgrave Park, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 23 February: Ireland v Wales, Musgrave Park, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 8 March: England v Ireland, Recreation Ground, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 15 March: Ireland v Scotland, Musgrave Park, 7pm

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