Ireland U-20s aiming to bounce back to winning ways in Wales
Outhalf Ross Byrne says team determined to purge frustrations of home defeat to England
Ireland U-20s centre Garry Ringrose skips past Will Owen of England during the recent clash at Donnybrook. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
There will be a cathartic element for Ireland in returning to the test arena in Colwyn Bay following the frustration and disappointment of losing to England at Donnybrook a fortnight ago.
The margins were narrow and Nigel Carolan’s side certainly had enough chances to win the match but to some degree had their pockets picked.
Ireland outhalf Ross Byrne admitted that the review process in the wake of the English defeat was painful but added the players addressed those shortcomings in training and then zeroed in on the upcoming game against Wales.
“It was just the overall frustration and disappointment because we knew it was there for the taking. We let it slip but there is nothing we can do about it now. We just have to move on. If we played them again in the World Cup we know we can beat them just by taking our chances.
“In the first half against England we could have had two tries or three tries and it’s a whole different game if take them.”
Ciarán Gaffney starts his first game on the right wing having recovered from a hamstring injury while there is a significant reshuffle in the back five in the pack with Cian Romaine and Josh Murphy forming a new partnership in the secondrow and St Mary’s College duo Conor Oliver and Nick Timoney joining Lorcan Dow in the backrow.
Wales beat England at Friday night’s venue in their opening match but have lost subsequent matches to France and Scotland – in the latter they scored five tries but went down 36-34 – both away from home.
They’ll be keen to avoid three in a row in front of their own supporters. Attendances have been good since they moved to North Wales albeit that the ground has a running track.
“They have a few very good players,” Byrne explained.
“Their seven (Ollie Griffiths) is probably their go-to guy in defence and attack.
“They look for him to do something big or a big play. They move the ball around but rely on their pack a lot.”
One of Ireland’s most prized assets is the quality of their back play and while Byrne and his halfback partner and captain, Nick McCarthy, have been excellent, the three-quarter line and particularly the centre axis of 18-year-old Sam Arnold and Garry Ringrose has many admirers.
“They’re a great balance. I mean obviously Garry’s a little bit slighter and Sammy brings more power. Garry has the pace and the footwork and they are both excellent passers so it makes my job a lot easier.
“They are both great communicators, which is always a great help; just give them the ball and they will create something out of nothing. It makes me look good sometimes.”
Ireland will be undersized in comparison to their hosts but certainly possess the ability to vault that hurdle.