Despite finishing top of their group, in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship it was a pretty poor year for Ireland U20’s with only 4 wins out of 10 games played. They recorded two wins in the 2014 U20 Six Nations, which saw them finish 4th, and two wins and a losing bonus point in the group stages of the JWC. They lost both their knock out games in the JWC for a 4th place finish.
We have taken advantage of our site cleanup to review our historical coverage of international and provincial sides over the last 10 years. This article was written on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 and has been entered retrospectively into the appropriate timeline.
2014 U20 Six Nations
It wasn’t a great Six Nations from the Irish youngsters with only wins against Scotland and Italy to show for their efforts. Their “best” game was against France so their was some hope for the JWC.
- Fri, 31 Jan 2014. Ireland U20 34 – 7 Scotland U20, Dubarry Park
- Fri, 7 Feb 2014. Ireland U20 0 – 16 Wales U20, Dubarry Park
- Sat, 22 Feb 2014. England U20 33 – 9 Ireland U20, Franklin Gardens
- Fri, 7 Mar 2014. Ireland U20 18 – 0 Italy U20, Dubarry Park
- Fri, 14 Mar 2014. France U20 23 – 17 Ireland U20, Maurice Trelut, Tarbes
Head coach Mike Ruddock used a total of 31 players in the 2014 Six Nations campaign. This was two fewer than 2013.
There was only one exile player used, Joe Joyce (Bristol) and it was a very poor year for Ulster involvement with only Queen’s University’s David Busby and Belfast Harlequins Frankie Taggart, himself an import from Whitgift School, South Croydon, who came into the Ulster Academy at the beginning of the 2013 season through the Irish Exiles programme.
|Max Abbott||Cork Constitution||Munster||5||0||5|
|Peter Robb||Old Belvedere||Leinster||5||0||5|
|Rory Burke||Cork Constitution||Munster||5||0||5|
|David Busby||Queen’s University||Ulster||4||1||5|
|Dan Goggin||Young Munster||Munster||3||2||5|
|Jack O’Donoghue||UL Bohemian||Munster||4||0||4|
|Frankie Taggart||Belfast Harlequins||Ulster||1||3||4|
|Harrison Brewer||Terenure College||Leinster||0||2||2|
Ireland finished the tournament on minus five points having conceded 79 points against 74 scored. The points came from a paltry 7 tries, 6 conversions (85% conversion rate) and 9 penalties.
Ross Byrne was the leading points scorer with 36 points from the boot and No. 8 Jack O’Donoghue was the leading try scorer with 2. Ulster’s Taggart also got on the scoreboard with a try against France.
2014 IRB Junior World Championship
The 2014 IRB Junior World Championship was held in New Zealand and it’s one that could have easily passed you by, despite Ireland’s highest finish to date, due to the time difference.
Ireland found themselves in Group B, probably the most favourable group, alongside France, Wales and Fiji. Despite this, I didn’t expect them to do well having lost to France and Wales in the Six Nations. However, they exceeded expectations picking up a losing bonus against France and try bonus wins against Wales and Fiji to top the group. This saw them qualify for the Top 4 for the first time.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got, heavy defeats followed against England and New Zealand in the knock out stages.
- Mon, 2 Jun 2014. France U20 19 – 13 Ireland U20, QBE Stadium, Auckland
- Fri, 6 Jun 2014. Ireland U20 35 – 19 Wales U20, 14 ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe
- Tue, 10 Jun 2014. Ireland U20 38 – 0 Fiji U20, QBE Stadium, Auckland
- Sun, 15 Jun 2014. England U20 42 – 15 Ireland U20, QBE Stadium, Auckland
- Fri, 20 Jun 2014. New Zealand 45 – 23 Ireland U20, Eden Park, Auckland
1. ENGLAND, 2. SOUTH AFRICA, 3. NEW ZEALAND, 4. IRELAND, 5. AUSTRALIA, 6. FRANCE, 7. WALES, 8. SAMOA, 9. ARGENTINA, 10. SCOTLAND, 11. ITALY, 12. FIJI.
There were 28 players used in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship with the usual player churn between the Six Nations and World Championship squads. Injury/availability accounted for Adam Byrne, Dan Leavy, David Busby, Jack Cullen, Jacob Walshe, Joe Joyce, Michael Trigg, Peter Robb, Sean McNulty, Sean O’Brien and Shane Delahunt missing out with Billy Dardis, Ciaran Gaffney, Craig Trenier, Darragh Moloney, Diarmaid Dee, Dylan Donnellan, Josh Murphy and Ryan Foley coming in.
|Dan Goggin||Young Munster||Munster||4||1||5|
|Frankie Taggart||Belfast Harlequins||Ulster||4||1||5|
|Max Abbott||Cork Constitution||Munster||4||1||5|
|Rory Burke||Cork Constitution||Munster||3||2||5|
|Darragh Moloney||Cork Constitution||Munster||2||3||5|
|Ryan Foley||Cork Constitution||Munster||1||4||5|
|Jack O’Donoghue||ULK Bohemian||Munster||4||0||4|
|Diarmaid Dee||Young Munster||Munster||0||2||2|
Ireland scored a total of 124 points during the tournament and conceded 125. Ireland’s points came from 14 tries, including 4 penalty tries, 12 conversions (conversion rate 86%), and 10 penalties. No drop goals!
Ross Byrne was the leading points scorer with 38 points from the boot. Garry Ringrose took over some of the kicking duties but also banged in 3 tries for 26 points but the leading try scorer was Mr Penalty Try who crossed 4 times, three of those coming against Fuji if I remember correctly.
Despite their Top 4 finish in the World Championships it was a sub par season for Ireland’s youngsters in terms of match points pick up with only 4 wins over the 10 games.
Their 2 wins in the 6 Nations gave them a 40% return for that tournament and the 11 match points picked up in the World Championship was only a 44% return on match points. This gives an overall match point pick up of 42% for the season which is their 2nd lowest since 2010.
There were 39 players used over the two tournaments, including 1 exile, which was pretty much power for the course.
There was more stability in selection tan usual with 8 players involved in every squad and 16 players involved in 70% of the squads. shout out to Lansdowne’s Peter Dooley and UCD’s Ross Molony who started every match.
|Max Abbott||Cork Constitution||Munster||9||1||10||0|
|Rory Burke||Cork Constitution||Munster||8||2||10||1||5|
|Dan Goggin||Young Munster||Munster||7||3||10||0|
|Frankie Taggart||Belfast Harlequins||Ulster||5||4||9||1||5|
|Jack O’Donoghue||UL Bohemian||Munster||8||0||8||2||10|
|Harrison Brewer||Terenure College||Leinster||1||5||6||0|
|Peter Robb||Old Belvedere||Leinster||5||0||5||0|
|David Busby||Queen’s University||Ulster||4||1||5||0|
|Darragh Moloney||Cork Constitution||Munster||2||3||5||0|
|Ryan Foley||Cork Constitution||Munster||1||4||5||0|
|Diarmaid Dee||Young Munster||Munster||0||2||2||0|
UCD’s Ross Byrne was the leading scorer with 74 points from 13 conversions and 16 penalties. The most tries came in the form of penalty tries with 4 awarded to Ireland over the season. Cian Kelleher and Garry Ringrose shared the individual leading try scorer with 3 tries each.
Leinster dominated the U20 squad with 22 players involved. Munster were next up with 10 players, Connacht with 4 Ulster with 2 and Exiles with 1.
It was a pretty pitiful turn out for Ulster with only Queen’s University’s Busby and Belfast Harlequins Taggart selected over the season. Busby’s season was cut short after picking up an injury ahead of the World Championships. This gave Ulster a disappointing 6% squad contribution and in terms of minutes played it was probably nearer half this.
Taggart was Ulster’s only scorer, with one try, giving Ulster a disappoints 3% overall points contribution.