Ireland’s capable young guns looking to impress in Bucharest
They begin the IRB Nations Cup with a game against Russia
Stuart McCloskey: the highly-rated Ulster centre will be in action for Emerging Ireland against Russia. Photo: Kevin Boyes/Inpho/Presseye
Craig Gilroy, Ian Keatley, Paul Marshall, Michael Bent and Tommy O’Donnell have all been capped at senior level while the entire team has donned a green jersey at one point in their respective careers.
Footballing abilityThere is plenty of pace and footballing ability in Ireland’s three-quarter line and it’ll be interesting to see how the highly regarded 21-year-old Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey fares.
The challenge for Ireland though will undoubtedly be up front where Russia’s brute strength will be a factor.
The Russians have come under the coaching baton of Raphael Saint Andre, a brother of French coach Phillipe, who succeeded Welshman Kingsley Jones.
Ranked 19th in the global standings they still have ambitions of making their way to the Rugby World Cup in England next year through the repechage process. They’ll offer a stern examination of Ireland’s set piece organisation and power, especially for props, Ulster’s Callum Black and Michael Bent of Leinster.