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The teams have been announced for the first official Inter-provincial of the season with Ulster and Leinster Academies going head to head tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at Shaws Bridge, kick off 5:30 pm.

The fixture replaces the Under 20’s inter-pros as part of an IRFU attempt to bridge the gap between age grade and pro rugby by spending as little money as possible. Unfortunately it’s seen most of the provincial U20’s panels suffering this season with even a few of the most successful ever Ireland U20’s panel being forced to further their careers outside of Ireland so maybe just more academy games could have been arranged and the U20’s left alone! Ah well, such is progress?

Anyway, as it stands Leinster, who once again seem able to buck the IRFU edicts, are fielding a largely U20 side while Ulster field a mix of U20’s and Academy players. In theory the extra experience and enhanced physiques should tip the game firmly in Ulster’s favour but, to counter that, the Leinster U20’s have been a fairly tight unit over the summer compared to the Ulster players who have been in and out of various squads over the last couple of weeks. We may finally get the answer to that age old conundrum of preparation versus experience!

As for the “History Boys” from the summer, the Ulster team features Johnny McPhillips. who starts at out half, and Adam McBurney, who starts from the bench. Leinster’s Irish starlets include Jimmy O’Brien. Conor O’Brien and Vakh Abdaladze but disappointingly no Hugo Keenan, Max Deegan or James Ryan who were some of my personal favourites from the U20 Championship in Manchester (after the Ulster lads of course).

The FRU Predicts: Well it’s early in the season so we’ll go for an Ulster win of course though I suspect it will be a tight game. Looking forward to it  😯 .

Ulster AcademyvLeinster Academy
Conor Kelly15Jack Kelly
Conor Field14Jordan Larmour
David Busby13Gavin Mullin
Tom Stapeley12Jimmy O’Brien
Aaron Cairns11Jack Power
Johnny McPhillips10Conor Dean
Angus Lloyd9Charlie Rock
Michael Lagan1Greg McGrath
Zac McCall2Tadgh McElroy
Craig Trenier3Óisín Heffernan
Alex Thompson4Caelan Dorris
John Donnan5Josh Murphy
Nick Timoney6Will Connors
Lorcan Dow7Barry Fitzpatrick
Marcus Rea8Paul Boyle
Adam McBurney16Sean McNulty
Tommy O’Hagan17Martin Mulhall
Peter Cooper18Vakh Abdaladze
Alistair Burke19Conor Hand
Connor Smyth20Ruairí O’Farrell
Jonny Stewart21Ciarán Frawley
Andy McGrath22Conor O’Brien
Callum Smith23Tim Carroll

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