Irish Under-20 squad face strong Argentinian opposition at World Championships in Parma

Only one in three previous meetings at this level have gone in Ireland’s favour

Ireland’s Joey Carbery takes the number 10 slot in Parma in the absence of the injured Ross Byrne. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ireland’s Joey Carbery takes the number 10 slot in Parma in the absence of the injured Ross Byrne. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

 

Coach Nigel Carolan believes his men will be forced to dig deep to get their World Rugby Under-20 Championship off to a winning start against Argentina in Parma today (3.30pm Irish time).

Ireland have only managed to beat Argentina once in three meetings at this level and Carolan saw enough from the young Pumas in recent games against South Africa to know they will present a formidable challenge.

“They are a good side. They have a decent set-piece, they are relentless in defence and they have an unstructured part to their game which keeps teams guessing.

“But we have a good side as well and are anxious to make up for the way the Six Nations went. The games come thick and fast in this competition but we have not looked beyond Argentina,” said Carolan.

He has handed the number 10 slot to Joey Carbery in the absence of his UCD and Leinster team-mate Ross Byrne, ruled out of the tournament with a back injury.

Second Captains

Carbery came off the bench in four of the Six Nations games. The only two uncapped players in the squad, Byrne’s replacement Tomas Quinlan and scrumhalf Charlie Rock, could make their Irish Under-20 debuts in Parma this afternoon after being named on the bench.

The loss of experienced outhalf Byrne is a big blow, but Carolan still starts with seven who did duty last year when they achieved their best ever finish when fourth in New Zealand.

Three of the backs – Billy Dardis, Garry Ringrose and captain Nick McCarthy – played last year, while up front, tighthead prop Oisin Heffernan, and flankers Josh Murphy and Rory Moloney, also have the experience of having played at this level 12 months ago.

Ireland started the Six Nations in a blaze of glory with impressive wins over Italy and France but then fell away against England, Wales and Scotland.

“We know we are a better side than those performances but it is a matter of going out and delivering it,” says Carolan.

Ringrose, a nominee for player of the tournament last year, said: “Argentina up first, they’ll be a physical side like any Argentinian team, very set piece orientated. It’s a huge challenge and we’re not going to look too far ahead.”

On Tuesday winger Ciaran Gaffney was forced to pull out of the squad due to an ankle injury picked up during the captain’s run meaning Jacob Stockdale moves into the starting XV.

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