Jeremy Loughman ready for sizeable Under-20 challenge in Wales
‘Set-piece would be my first priority’ says loosehead prop
Jeremy Loughman in action during the Under-20 Six Nations match against England at Donnybrook. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.
It’s a familiar scenario historically, and specifically in terms of the current tournament, as they have faced France and then England in their last two matches. There’s also a technical side to the equation; the Irish players have to grapple with opponents who have more exposure to senior rugby.
The 19-year-old Loughman admitted: “It’s been tough, but it’s been very enjoyable. It’s really challenged me as a player.”
He has acquitted himself impressively in Ireland’s three games so far, but then that’s hardly a surprise for the teenager who can play both sides of the frontrow.
Having started playing initially in Athy rugby club, while attending Árdscoil na Tríonóide and being capped at Leinster U-18 Youths level, he moved to Blackrock College for fifth and sixth year, winning a brace of Leinster Schools Senior Cups and earning further representative honours.
“That older experience, especially in the front row, really pays off. It was tough but I thought we handled it well and hopefully we can build from England and put in a good set-piece performance against Wales.
“They’re all about their strong set piece and setting that as a platform for their backs. If we can get in and disrupt it, we’ve an extremely good backline that can do a bit of damage as well. I think as forwards, it’s very important to really set them a good platform. The better a platform we give them, the easier they make it on us because they’ve showed already they can run them [TRIES)]in from anywhere.”
Loughman is multidimensional in being proficient in the tight and a prominent and effective ball carrier. “Set-piece would be my first priority and then if I can still move after that, I’ll look to get on the ball,” he smiled.
“Having been a centre back in the day, I do enjoy carrying the ball in the loose. I think it’s been important setting that platform for the backs.” More of the same would do nicely.