The Offload: The class of 2012 ready to roar for the Lions

Four members of squad - including Furlong - have been selected for South Africa tour

Tadhg Furlong celebrates Ireland’s win over South Africa in the 2012 Junior World Championship. Photograph:  Shaun Roy/Inpho

Tadhg Furlong celebrates Ireland’s win over South Africa in the 2012 Junior World Championship. Photograph: Shaun Roy/Inpho

 

Under-20s generation wearing red

The 2012 Ireland Under-20 team proved to be a talented collection of players, a statement that’s further endorsed by the fact that four of its constituents, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson and Jack Conan have been selected for the British & Irish Lions team, returning to South Africa nine years after Mike Ruddock’s squad finished fifth in the underage tournament.

They were the only team to beat the eventual champions South Africa, a 23-19 victory at the pool stage with tries from Clongowes pair Conor Gilsenan and Jordan Coghlan with the rest of the points coming through the boot of JJ Hanrahan. Ireland lost a pool game to England but beat them at the semi-final stage in the knockout game for fifth to eighth places and subsequently accounted for France.

England’s Luke Cowan-Dickie and Scotland’s Finn Russell, who also travel with the Lions this summer played in that tournament, while current Springboks Steven Kitsoff, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Handre Pollard were part of the South African side that claimed outright victory on home soil.

Quote of the week

“That score-line looks like a flogging, but I don’t feel like it was. If we can sort out a few of those things, that scoreline is going to be a hell of a lot closer. We didn’t (on the night); Leinster were by far the better team, and we’ve got ourselves to blame for that.” Connacht head coach Andy Friend.

Rainbow red card rule seems wrong

Law variations currently being trialled in the Rainbow Cup have elicited mixed reactions and the one that has arguably caused the biggest kerfuffle is permitting a team that has had a player sent off to replace him after 20 minutes.

Ulster centre Will Addison’s red card just before half-time at Thomond Park saw him replaced in the 60th minute by James Hume and while it didn’t affect the outcome of the match, it’s hard to understand what World Rugby is hoping to achieve by mitigating censure for foul play that warrants a sending off. It’s a general observation rather than one specifically relates to that incident.

The stated goal of rugby’s global governing body is to change player behaviour to make the game safer, a stance that seems incongruous with reducing the punishment in its primary form. No one wants to see players sent off and the outcome of matches skewed as a result but by the same token there has to be a uniform commitment to weeding out reckless/malicious/clumsy acts that threaten injury.

U-20 ticket taking shape

The coaching group for Ireland ahead of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship that takes place in Cardiff, starting next month has been finalised. Richie Murphy will temporarily put aside his role as kicking and skills coach with the senior team for that of head coach with the Irish age grade side.

There will be one especially familiar face in the extended squad, his son, Ben, a promising scrumhalf who spent some time training with Munster recently, and is a member of the national talent squad. Murphy will be assisted by Colm Tucker (forwards coach) who will step up to that role with the Connacht senior team next season.

Former Munster and Ireland international Denis Leamy, now an elite player development officer with Leinster, will be responsible for defence while ex-Women’s senior and Ireland U-19 head coach and former international Tom Tierney is also part of the backroom team.

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