Munster academy product Calvin Nash starts for Ireland under-20s in Rome tomorrow just a week after making his senior Munster debut in their 10-9 victory at Edinburgh last weekend.
The Crescent graduate and Young Munster centre-turned-winger has been touted as one of the most exciting backline products to come through the ranks in the province in some time, with his searing pace and explosive running style turning plenty of heads during three seasons playing Munster Senior Schools rugby with CCC.
Nash has been named on the left wing in Nigel Carolan's starting XV for their trip to Italy, with Colm Hogan moving to fullback in place of injured Ireland captain Jack Kelly.
Since emerging from the academy and being named as an 'Additional Player' in Munster's Champions Cup squad for their home tie with Racing last month, the Limerick man has impressed, not least during his senior debut at Edinburgh last week. Kiwi centre Francis Saili was surprised by the teenager's turn of pace since his ascent to first team status.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Saili said of Nash:
Funnily enough, I asked how old he was in the airport on the way back home (from Edinburgh) because I was asking the boys ‘How old is this guy’ and they were saying he was only 19.
I’ve been impressed with him in training, he’s rapid man so I think there’s many more games to come from him especially with this block of games. He’s a good prospect coming through the ranks for Munster.
Nash was a member of the interpros-winning Munster U18 Schools side in 2014/15, before enjoying further interprovincial success as part of the 2015/16 Munster U20 side.
He won a Senior Schools Cup with Crescent in 2014 while in Transition Year, and captained his school to another final last March, where they came up just short against record title-holders Christians of Cork.
Even in defeat, however, and indeed an outrageously tight encounter, Nash displayed flashes of the brilliance which has seen him elevated to Munster's senior squad at the age of 19. Were it not for a game-changing interception by Christians' Richard Thompson with 10 minutes remaining, a scintillating Nash break might have proved decisive in a ferocious affair.
He's the only Munster player starting in the Ireland 20s' backline tomorrow, and will be looking to make an impact versus an Italy outfit which lost 27-5 at home to Wales last weekend.