Ireland U20s will hope to build on two opening victories

Captain plays down expectations ahead of Friday’s Six Nations clash with England

Ireland U20 captain Nick  McCarthy says the team is “just focused” on Friday’s Six Nations game against England in Donnybrook. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ireland U20 captain Nick McCarthy says the team is “just focused” on Friday’s Six Nations game against England in Donnybrook. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 
Six Nations

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Ireland captain Nick McCarthy said the squad were aware of the anticipation that has built up since their 37-20 success against the French, but insisted they were remaining focused on Friday’s fixture.

“There has been a good bit of talk about, but we’ve kind of stayed in our own circle. That is what’s important,” McCarthy said. “What people are saying outside is not very important to us. We’ve focused just on this game. People are going to get ahead of themselves, but we’re just focused on this game.”

Understanding

Ross ByrneJoey Carberry

“I’ve played with Joey a bit and Ross Byrne is the other outhalf and he starts. He’s from UCD as well. I’ve played with him at schools as well for a long time. At halfback it’s great to have a bit of a connection with 10, so you know kind of what you want and what they expect from you.”

McCarthy will also be joined on Friday by fullback Billy Dardis, who has registered two tries in as many games for Ireland in 2015. He is excited about the visit of Nick Walshe’s charges and feels the all-weather surface in Donnybrook should suit both sets of players.

“It suits us, the way we want to play, and the way they want to play as well. There should be a massive crowd, and I think a big chunk of tickets have already been sold. It’s really exciting for all the players and everyone involved,” Dardis said.

It has been a very encouraging campaign for Ireland under the guidance of new head coach Nigel Carolan.

Although he praised the structures provided by his predecessor Mike Ruddock, Dardis has been impressed with the way Carolan has placed responsibility on the shoulders of the players.

“Mike was a great coach and he had great structures. He’s done it all, he has won Grand Slams. Nigel brings a different kind of aura about him. He’s really allowing the players to take responsibility and at the moment it’s a real player-driven team. It’s positive at the moment.

“We’d have a big influence on everything, it’s all directed by us. We’d take the meetings and the training sessions. It’s just letting us express ourselves and take responsibility. I suppose when it comes to the matches, we feel like this is our team and we take ownership of it.”

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