2018-19 England U20 International Rugby U20 Ireland U20 World Rugby U20 Championship

Ireland U20: All you want to know about Ireland U20 v England U20

We have an indepth look at the two teams ahead of tonight’s opening 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship. Kicks off 19:30 UK/IRE. 

The match should be streamed live here for those of us in the UK and will also be shown on EIR Sports. 

Why is this match important? 

The U20 Championship is such a tight competition that you literally cannot afford to lose a match if you want to qualify for the Championship Semi Finals and both these sides will be gunning for a top four finish. 

England won the championship in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and were runners up in 2017 and 2018. They will have a disaster of a tournament if the do not qualify for the semi finals. 

Ireland’s best finish was runners up in 2016 where they lost to England in the final. However, since then they have finished 9th and 11th in the 12 team competition. They desperately need a good tournament. 

What happened last time they met?

The teams last met in the opening round of the 2019 Six Nations at Irish Independent Park, Cork in front of a crowd of 5,764. 

Ireland kicked off their Grand Slam season with a 37 – 25 win in a match that could have went either way. to me the game hinged on a piece of indiscipline from the English pack. As we wrote at the time:

England looked to their pack to dominate up front but they threw away a game winning chance with an early push in a scrum meters from the Ireland line. It was a huge let off for Ireland who had just lost replacement Michael Milne to a yellow card for collapsing the preceding scrums.

The hosts comfortably saw out the rest of the player deficit and as the clock ticked down towards full time they managed to find the bonus point try as replacement scrum half Cormac Foley sneaked over off the back of a scrum to seal the game. Byrne converted to deny England the losing bonus and give a final score of Ireland 35 England 27. Amazing!U20 Six Nations: Ireland 35 England 27

Ireland went on to win their first ever Grand Slam at this level and a disgruntled England showed furter indiscipline in a loss to Wales to finish in 3rd place overall.  

Will that match have any effect on this one? 

Well yes and no. Ireland will have the confidence of going into this competition on the back of a six match unbeaten run (including their last game in the 2018 World Championship). 

England, on the other hand, will be keen to make amends for their indiscipline during the Six Nations. 

Ireland have 10 players involved in that Six Nations match in their starting lineup and England have 12. However, in the overall squad Ireland have 16 players involved from their last meeting and England have 13. 

Both the squads are shown below with players involved in the previous meeting highlighted in bold. 

1 Olly Adkins Gloucester Rugby1 Josh Wycherley Young Munster
2 Nic Dolly Sale Sharks2 Dylan Tierney-Martin Corinthians
3 Joe Heyes Leicester Tigers3 Thomas Clarkson Dublin University
4 Joel Kpoku Saracens4 Charlie Ryan (Capt.) UCD
5 Alex Coles Northampton 5 Ryan Baird Trinity College, Dublin
6 Ted Hill Worcester Warriors6 David McCann Banbridge
7 Aaron Hinkley Gloucester Rugby7 John Hodnett University College Cork
8 Tom Willis Wasps8 Azur Allison Ballymena
9 Ollie Fox Bath Rugby9 Craig Casey Shannon
10 Manu Vunipola Saracens10 Jake Flannery Cork Constitution
11 Tom Seabrook Gloucester Rugby11 Jonathan Wren Cork Constitution
12 Cameron Redpath Sale Sharks12 Stewart Moore Malone
13 Fraser Dingwall (Capt.) Northampton 13 Liam Turner Dublin University
14 Ollie Sleightholme Northampton 14 Angus Kernohan QUB
15 Tom De Glanville Bath Rugby15 Iwan Hughes Ballynahinch
16 Alfie Barbeary Wasps16 Declan Adamson Clontarf
17 Kai Owen Worcester Warriors17 Michael Milne UCD
18 Alfie Petch Exeter Chiefs18 Charlie Ward Clontarf
19 Will Capon Bristol Bears19 John McKee Old Belvedere
20 James Kenny Exeter Chiefs20 Ronan Watters St Mary’s College
21 Richard Capstick Exeter Chiefs21 Niall Murray Connacht
22 Rusiate Tuima Exeter Chiefs22 Thomas Ahern Shannon
23 Josh Basham Newcastle Falcons23 Ciaran Booth Sale Sharks
24 Sam Maunder Exeter Chiefs24 Colm Reilly Buccaneers
25 Luke James Sale Sharks25 Cormac Foley St Mary’s College
26 Connor Doherty Sale Sharks26 Ben Healy Garryowen
27 Arron Reed Sale Sharks27 Sean French Cork Constitution
28 Josh Hodge Newcastle Falcons28 Rob Russell Dublin University

What are the Irish Players Stats?

All the stats for the Irish players at this level are shown below. In the case of Angus Kernohan and Charlie Ryan the stats include U20 Six Nations and Championship stats from 2018. 

Iwan Hughes*BallynahinchUlster0000
Angus KernohanQueen’s UniversityUlster842200
Liam TurnerDublin UniversityLeinster540000
Stewart Moore*MaloneUlster0000
Jonathan WrenCork ConstitutionMunster5400210
Jake FlanneryShannonMunster537702
Craig CaseyShannonMunster3216210
Josh WycherleyYoung MunsterMunster5331210
Dylan Tierney-MartinCorinthiansConnacht5329525
Tom ClarksonDublin UniversityLeinster538915
Charlie RyanUCDLeinster1049100
Ryan BairdDublin UniversityLeinster25900
David McCannBanbridgeUlster32700
John HodnettUCDMunster539015
Azur Allison*BallymenaUlster0000
Michael MilneUCDLeinster32600
Declan Adamson*ClontarfLeinster0000
John McKeeOld BelvedereLeinster45500
Charlie Ward*ClontarfLeinster0000
Thomas Ahern*ShannonMunster0000
Niall MurrayBuccaneersConnacht532500
Ronan WattersSt Mary’s CollegeLeinster1800
Ciaran Booth*Sale SharksIQ Rugby0000
Colm ReillyBuccaneersConnacht23015
Cormac FoleySt Mary’s CollegeLeinster515415
Ben HealyGarryowenMunster3150022
Sean FrenchCork ConstitutionMunster319200
Rob RussellDublin UniversityLeinster56500
*Uncapped at this level

Where are the key areas? 

No surprises here, to me the key areas are the front row and the halfbacks. With two Ulster players in the back row, it also looks interesting but I reckon it’ll play a secondary part to the other two areas. 

Ireland have put their experienced players in the front row and they have formed a formidable partnership. However, they are going to have to get parity in the set piece and, if they do, then how the half backs use this is going to be crucial. 

The Ireland management team have gambled with Jake Flannery at out half, the Shannon youngster having played all his Six Nations games at full back.  The absence of Harry Byrne, due to injury, is a big loss for Ireland and how Flannery responds will be crucial to Ireland’s cause. 

Of course the back row are going to have to support the half backs and the selection of the comparatively untested Ulster duo of David McCann and Azur Allison alongside John Hodnett is interesting. The big question is will they be able to support Flannery or will they have to dig in to support the scrum? 

Who is going to win? 

It’s going to be really tight and to me it’ll come down to whichever front row comes out on top and, I think that here, Ireland have a slight edge. 

Hopefully, it will be as thrilling a game as their last meeting with the same result. It should be a cracker. 

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