Ireland U20s hoping to maintain momentum against Scotland
Defence coach Campbell sees possible weakness in Scotland’s set-piece
Ireland’s Cormac Foley scoring a try against England in Cork in the Under-20 Six Nations championship. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Under-20s Six Nations: Scotland Under-20s v Ireland Under-20s
Kick off: 7.30pm, Friday. Venue: Netherdale, Galashiels.
Ireland defence coach Kieran Campbell spoke about how a game against Cork Constitution’s All-Ireland League Division One leading side helped to physically attune the Ireland team ahead of their stunning bonus-point victory over England in the opening Under-20 Six Nations match in Cork last weekend.
“It was huge, particularly with the Cork Con pack; it’s massive to be honest. I think it gave some of our guys a wake-up call in the first 10-minutes; it was a wee bit hairy. I think finding their feet with that gave them confidence going into the England game.”
Ireland coach Noel McNamara has made one change for the game against Scotland, Cormac Foley, a try-scorer the last day, replacing the unfortunate Shannon scrumhalf Craig Casey (knee).
Colm Reilly is named on the bench, as is Luke Masters, who comes into the squad for the injured Ryan Lomas.
The Scots make three changes to the side that was beaten 32-22 by Italy last weekend.
Campbell explained that Ireland had well and truly parked the euphoria of the win over England.
“I think Scotland are evolving their style. It is quick similar to what Gregor Townsend seems to be running with the seniors. When they got into phase play they were very dangerous, very fluid.
“One area of the game where they struggled a little bit was set-piece. I think that came down to the size profile of the Italians. The Italians were a big side and put a lot of stress on them [Scotland] around the set-piece, particularly the scrum. That is an area we have examined.”
The key for Ireland is to maintain that impetus. The former Ireland scrumhalf agrees.
“The group is hugely ambitious. There was a review on Saturday morning. The focus was put straight back on where we need to improve going into Scotland, because we want to be a [good] team. One good performance is one thing, but I think Irish rugby has gone beyond that now.
“We need to back it up, and make sure that when we get to Scotland we deliver a performance that is better than that [the English game] again.”
SCOTLAND U-20: R McLean; R McMichael, C Anderson, R McCallum, J Blain; R Thompson, R Frostwick; S Grahamslaw, E Ashman, M Walker; C Henderson; E Johnson, C Jupp, C Boyle (capt), K Van Niekirk.
Replacements: A Fraser, A Nimmo, E McLaren, R Bundy, J Mann, K McGhie, N Chamberlain, M Davidson.
IRELAND UNDER-20: J Flannery (Shannon); C Phillips (Young Munster), L Turner (Dublin University), D Hawkshaw (Clontarf, capt), J Wren (Cork Constitution); H Byrne (Lansdowne), C Foley (St Mary’s College); J Wycherley (Young Munster), D Tierney-Martin (Corinthians), T Clarkson (Dublin University); C Ryan (UCD), N Murray (Buccaneers); M Moloney (Old Belvedere), S Penny (UCD), J Hodnett (UCC).
Replacements: J McKee (Old Belvedere), M Milne (UCD), L Masters (Shannon), B Deeny (Clontarf), D McCann (Banbridge), C Reilly (Buccaneers), S French (Cork Constitution), R Russell (Dublin University).