The teams have been announced for the friendly match between Ulster A and Leinster A which takes place at Ravenhill this afternoon at 15:00 and will be shown on BBC iPlayer and/or BBC Sport.
The teams are a mix of recent Ireland U20, Ireland U20 hopefuls, a few “slightly” more experienced players looking for game time and a few club bolters who have managed to stay away from any COVID scares.
Primarily, I would guess it’s a chance for the new Ireland U20 coach Kieran Campbell to have a look at half a dozen hopefuls and swap notes with his predecessor, in the U20 set up, Noel McNamara.
Wallace High School trio Ben Carson, Nathan Doak and Reuben Crothers; Dalriada’s James McCormick; Sullivan Upper’s Harry Sheridan and I believe Ben Moxham and Conor Rankin are all still eligible should international U20 competition resume this season. They are all exciting players but, in my book, Carson is something special and will be worth keeping an eye on.
Outside of Ulster’s Adam McBurney, Bill Johnston, Ross Kane, Gareth Milasinovich and Marcus Rea the Leinster side appear to be a year or two older and, as you would expect from a Leinster side, the vast bulk have an Ireland U20 history with Max O’Reilly, Liam Turner, David Hawkshaw, Ryan Baird and Alex Soroka all familiar names from our coverage. Carson against Turner and Hawkshaw against Bill Johnston should be interesting head to heads.
However, our favourite Ireland U20 player of recent seasons, Tom Clarkson, starts on the bench but I would guess that he and Ulster’s Tom O’Toole will be brought on at the same time to diagonally oppose each other across the scrum. Two great prospects.
Ulster A have a had a few thrashings from their Leinster counterparts in competitive fixtures at this level, conceding 147 points in their last three meetings. However, there can be massive swings in performance and a quick glance down the team sheets makes me think Ulster are starting with an edge in the all important front five so we will tip the home side to edge this one.
|ULSTER A||LEINSTER A|
|Aaron Sexton||15||Max O’Reilly|
|Ben Moxham||14||Cian Kelleher|
|Hayden Hyde||13||Jamie Osborne|
|Ben Carson||12||Liam Turner|
|Conor Rankin||11||Niall Comerford|
|Bill Johnston||10||David Hawkshaw|
|Nathan Doak||9||Cormac Foley|
|Gareth Milasinovich||1||Marcus Hanan|
|Adam McBurney||2||Dan Sheehan|
|Ross Kane||3||Greg McGrath|
|Cormac Izuchukwu||4||Joe McCarthy|
|Conor McMenamin||5||Jack Dunne (C)|
|Harry Sheridan||6||Ryan Baird|
|Marcus Rea||7||Seán O’Brien|
|David McCann (C)||8||Alex Soroka|
|Bradley Roberts||16||Lee Barron|
|Callum Reid||17||Jack Boyle|
|Tom O’Toole||18||Tom Clarkson|
|Reuben Crothers||19||Mark Morrissey|
|James McCormick||20||Mark Hernan|
|Lewis Finlay||21||Patrick Patterson|
|James Humphreys||22||Tim Corkery|