Another exciting weekend of Six Nations Rugby kicks off this evening with England hosting Ireland at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Kick off 6:05, live on Sky Sports. Ireland have introduced two new players to the squad with Leinster’s Greg Jones starting at No. 8 and Munster’s Ben Betts starting on the bench.
Ireland’s story of the Six Nations so far has been a frustrating one. They have tried to play attractive rugby but have made too many mistakes to reap the rewards that their efforts have merited. They have come in for some criticism from the powers that be but I hope that Coach Nigel Carolan continues to encourage his charges to play an expansive game as the matches have been largely enjoyable, despite the results. It’s all about development at this age.
As they stand:
The player to benefit most from Carolan’s policy is Ulster’s Johnny McPhillips who, at out half, has had a mixed bag thus far with some delightful touches but also some howlers with his positional kicking. However, big boot, solid defence and all the skills, the eighteen year old is certainly worth persevering with.
After the French game I was hopeful that Ulster might release Stockdale, Arnold and Robert Lyttle to add a touch of “experience” to the misfiring back line but sadly that is not the case. The odds swing very much in England’s favour for this one but you never know, if things go right and the passes stick this group of youngsters has the potential to cause an upset.
The FRU Predicts: Odds are heavily in England’s favour, but what the hell, I’m going to go out on a limb here and tip Ireland U20’s to cause a major upset in a high scoring game.
|Tom West||15||Jack Power|
|Jack Singleton||14||Hugo Keenan|
|Will Stuart||13||Shane Daly|
|Huw Taylor||12||Jimmy O’Brien|
|George Nott||11||Conor O’Brien|
|Archie White||10||Johnny McPhillips|
|Sam Smith||9||Stephen Kerins|
|Callum Chick||1||Andrew Porter|
|Max Green||2||Adam McBurney|
|Mathew Protheroe||3||Conán O’Donnell|
|Ollie Thorley||4||Peter Claffey|
|Charlie Thacker||5||James Ryan|
|Joe Marchant||6||Cillian Gallagher|
|George Perkins||7||Will Connors|
|Max Malins||8||Greg Jones|
|Curtis Langdon||16||Shane Fenton|
|Jake Pope||17||James Bollard|
|Billy Keast||18||Ben Betts|
|Stan South||19||Sean O’Connor|
|Jack Willis||20||Kelvin Brown|
|Jamie Shillcock||21||John Poland|
|Joe Simmonds||22||Brett Connon|
|Paolo Odogwu||23||Matthew Byrne|