The squads are up for the IRFU U18 Schools Interprovincials which kick off on Saturday at the University of Limerick Pavillion 3G Pitch.
This is a nice initiative from the IRFU which sees the Club and Schools provincial players come together for an 8 day festival of rugby. Matches will be played on Saturday 17th August, Wednesday 21st and Sunday 25th with the players given instruction on Nutrition, Player Pathway, Self Management and Mental Skills as well as coaching sessions from IRFU staff in the intervening days.
Ulster, Munster, Connacht and Leinster all field teams in the Club sections with IQ Rugby (Irish Qualified players in the UK) replacing Connacht in the Schools sections.
This is the second year of the initiative.
How did Ulster U18 Schools do last time?
Ulster schools did pretty well last time out, losing to Leinster in their last match of the tournament to finish second with two wins from three. They scored 75 points and concede 64 over the three games, their results are shown below.
We said at the time,
“The Ulster Schools side were comfortably the most exciting team on show in both competitions and they really should have wrapped up their half of the tournament with something to spare.
Unfortunately their decision to play a kicking game in the second half played into Leinster’s hands and three very soft tries gave the boys in blue something to defend, which they did with resolute determination.”
How will they do this time?
They should be genuine contenders once again though they looked more controlled than entertaining in their win against Italy U18 earlier this month.
It was a composed performance against Italy, who had beaten Leinster U18 Schools a few days earlier and in centre Ben Carson and scrum half James Wright they have players capable of breaking up a game. The pack looked hard working and well balanced and with, new coach, Willie Faloon in charge you know that the team will keep pushing until the final whistle.
When do they play?
The fixtures for the U18 Schools Competition are shown below. Ulster kick off against Leinster on Saturday before playing Munster mid week and finishing against IQ Rugby the following Sunday.
Who’s in the squad?
There are 10 schools represented in the squad, a squad that sees a significant switch away from the Belfast “big three” which have dominated schools rugby over the years.
Ballymena Academy dominate the 26 player squad with 10 representatives, Wallace High are next with 4 players and, Schools Cup Winners, Methodist College are third with 3 players in the squad.
The Ulster Schools squad and their opponents Leinster are shown below.
|ULSTER U18 SCHOOLS||LEINSTER U18 SCHOOLS|
|Harry Andrews Ballymena Academy||Scott Barron Blackrock Col.|
|Tim Bailie Ballymena Academy||Cameron Baird St Michael’s Col.|
|Jack Boal Campbell College||Lucas Bert Newman Newbridge Col.|
|David Braden Omagh Academy||Conor Booth St Michael’s Col.|
|Paddy Browne Ballymena Academy||Jack Boyle St Michael’s Col.|
|Ethan Bryce Methodist College||Fionn Gibbons Castleknock Col.|
|Ben Carson Wallace HS||Fintan Gunne St Michael’s Col.|
|Andrew Donald Ballymena Academy||Freddy Happonen St Gerard’s Col.|
|Josh Drain Ballymena Academy||Zach Harrison St Michael’s Col.|
|Paddy Eames RBAI||Daniel Hawkshaw Belvedere Col.|
|Ryan Finlay RS Armagh||Tom Henderson Blackrock Col.|
|Luke Graham Methodist College||Donough Lawlor Newbridge Col.|
|Charlie Irvine Wallace HS||Rory McGuire Blackrock Col.|
|Josh King RS Armagh||Luke McMahon Clongowes W. Col.|
|Adam Lamont Ballymena Academy||Hugo McWade St Michael’s Col.|
|Joseph Mawhinney Ballymena Academy||Shane Mallon Cistercian Col. Roscrea|
|James McCormick Dalriada School||Diarmuid Mangan Newbridge Col.|
|Ross McKay Ballymena Academy||Michael Moloney Blackrock Col.|
|Jamie McNeight Wallace HS||Mark Morrissey Blackrock Col.|
|Jordan Millar Ballymena Academy||Dylan O’Grady Belvedere Col.|
|Peter O’Hagan Methodist College||Eoin Quinn CBC Monkstown|
|Jude Postlethwaite* RBAI||Eoghan Rutledge Belvedere Col.|
|Finn Rankin Wallace HS||Jonaghan Sargent Belvedere Col.|
|Callum Smyton Enniskillen RGS||Charlie Tector Kilkenny Col.|
|Rory Telfer Coleraine GS||David Walsh Blackrock Col.|
|James Wright Ballymena Academy||Stephen Woods St Michael’s Col.|
|Head Coach: Willie Faloon||Head Coach: Andy Skehan|
*Jude Postlethwait will be with the Ireland U18 Sevens side for the first round of fixtures.
Note: Squad subject to change.
Starting Team Confirmed.
v Leinster, Saturday 17th August, 17:00
Ulster U18 Schools: Josh Drain, Rory Telfer, Ben Carson, Luke Graham, Jamie McNeight, Ross McKay, James Wright, David Braden, James McCormick (Capt), Joseph Mawhinney, Paddy Browne, Charlie Irvine, Ryan Finlay, Josh King, Adam Lamont. Replacements: Andrew Donald, Harry Andrews, Jack Boal, Peter O’Hagan, Paddy Eames, Callum Smyton, Tim Bailie, Jordan Millar.