McGrath to lead Ireland U-20
Rugby:Ireland coach Mike Ruddock has named just two of last year’s squad for the opening fixture in the Six Nations Under-20 Championship against Wales at Eirias, Colwyn Bay on Friday night (7.10). They are fullback Stuart Olding and scrumhalf Luke McGrath, who captains the side.
Ruddock said: “The panel have prepared well and have had some good results in our warm up matches. The guys have worked very hard and are well conditioned.” The game will be shown live on RTE 2.
The Ireland Women’s team to play Wales in their opening game of the RBS 6 Nations, in Aberavon RFC on Sunday (1.30) has been named. Head coach Philip Doyle has selected Ireland’s most capped player, Lynne Cantwell, at outhalf for the game. She will be partnered in the half backs by Larissa Muldoon.
Niamh Briggs starts at fullback with Niamh Kavanagh and Alison Miller on the wings while Grace Davitt and Jenny Murphy make up a new centre partnership. Up front, captain Fiona Coghlan packs down alongside Gillian Bourke and Ailis Egan. Sophie Spence and Marie Louise Reilly form a strong second row. Joy Neville, Claire Molloy and Laura Guest make up an exciting back row.
Doyle said: “It was an extremely difficult decision in selecting the 23 players for this weekend’s match and even more difficult in selecting the starting line up. The players have been working very hard over the last number of months and they made my job very difficult in team selection.
“Qualification for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup is dependent on the result from both this year’s and last year’s 6 Nations so we will be looking to raise the bar again this year in terms of our performances. We are under no illusions of the difficulty that this campaign will hold for us as all teams are looking to qualify for the WRWC which is the pinnacle of the XVs games.”
Ireland Under-20:Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins /Ulster); Alexander O'Meara (Hartpury/ Exiles), Tom Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster, capt); Brian Scott (UCC/Munster), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons/Exiles), Chris Taylor (Malone/Ulster); John Donnan (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Gavin Thornbury (UCD/Leinster); Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Murphy (Dolphin/Munster), Conor Joyce (Malone/Ulster). Replacements: John Andrew (Ballymena/Ulster), Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jake Caulfield (Malone/Ulster), Sean McCarthy (Shannon/Munster), Josh Van Der Flier (UCD/Leinster), John Creighton (Malone /Ulster), Darren Sweetnam (UCC/Munster), David Panther (Corinthians/Connacht).
Ireland Women:N Briggs (Munster); N Kavanagh (Munster), G Davitt (Ulster), J Murphy (Leinster), A Miller (Connacht); L Cantwell (Exiles), L Muldoon (Exiles); F Coghlan (Leinster, capt), G Bourke (Munster), A Egan (Leinster); S Spence (Exiles), M Louise Reilly (Leinster); L Guest (Munster), C Molloy (Exiles), J Neville (Munster). Replacements: S-Lee Kennedy (Ulster), F Hayes (Munster), L Day (Exiles), H O’Brien (Munster), S Fleming (Munster), A Davis (Ulster), N Stapleton (Leinster), A Baxter (Ulster)