Teams were announced yesterday for Saturday afternoon’s Academy grade interprovincial which will be played at Donnybrook. Kick of 12:30, behind closed doors.
This will be Ulster A’s fifth fixture in this topsy turvy season and if they play Connacht Eagles at home before the end of the season they will have completed home and away fixtures against the three other provinces, this match being classified as an away fixture.
Ulster A are the only undefeated side in the 8 fixtures played amongst the provinces at this level, a draw against Connacht Eagles at the Sportsground in December the only blemish to an all win campaign. However, I wouldn’t read too much into that with Ulster generally calling up a higher proportion of senior players for the games.
In this one they have Stewart Moore, Bill Johnston, Dave Shanahan, Bradley Roberts, Gareth Milasinovich, Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea and Kyle McCall from the senior side and a sprinkling of breakthrough players in Ethan McIlroy, Aaron Sexton, Ben Moxham and of course Ulster rugby’s “winningest” captain David McCann.
The squad features recent graduates from Wallace High (Carson, Crothers, Doak), Coleraine Grammar (Egan), Dalriada (McCormick), Sullivan Upper (Sheridan, Saunderson, McKee) and Ballymena Academy (Corr) and it’s refreshing to see the Academy’s reach extending beyond the Belfast Big Three.
The Munster side features graduates, back to 2016, from the Ireland U20 set up in Jake Flanery, Sean French, Liam Coombes, Jack Crowley, Jack Daly in the starting line up plus Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley and Jonathan Wren on the bench, and I expect them to extend their squad with a few more “possibles” by the time kick off arrives.
You’ll find out more about all the players by clicking their tag at the bottom of the page or using the site search at the top of the page.
At the end of the day, the game is a squad hit out to give players some game time under the current restrictions, and that’s about it’s level of importance, but if you want to put some jeopardy into the game we’ve given you a prediction below.
The FRU Predicts. Munster’s only loss has been to the Ulster A side this season, though they have played one match fewer than the rest of the provinces, so this has the makings of an unofficial interprovincial decider. Ulster have by far and away the more experienced side and it should be a convincing win for the Belfast boys.
|MUNSTER A||ULSTER A|
|Jake Flannery||15||Ethan McIlroy|
|Seán French||14||Aaron Sexton|
|Liam Coombes||13||Ben Moxham|
|Alex McHenry||12||Stewart Moore|
|Conor Phillips||11||Conor Rankin|
|Jack Crowley||10||Bill Johnston|
|Ethan Coughlan||9||David Shanahan|
|Jeremy Loughman||1||Callum Reid|
|Rhys Marshall||2||Brad Roberts|
|Keynan Knox||3||Gareth Milasinovich|
|Cian Hurley||4||Matty Rea|
|Paddy Kelly||5||Conor McMenamin|
|Jack Daly||6||Harry Sheridan|
|Scott Buckley||7||Marcus Rea|
|Alex Kendellen.||8||David McCann (C)|
|Diarmuid Barron||16||James McCormick|
|Josh Wycherley||17||Kyle McCall|
|Paddy Patterson||18||Oscar Egan|
|Jonathan Wren.||19||George Saunderson|