Ireland U20s Producing Ultra-Modern Batch Of Complete Forwards

Ireland U20s Producing Ultra-Modern Batch Of Complete Forwards

If a team is to become highly successful in the modern game of rugby they will be required to break boundaries, to write new rules and to manufacture new ideas. And it may be still early days in the careers of those in the Ireland U20s, but already they're showing that they're up to the challenge.

Rugby has long been accused of being a dull spectacle, where players have their own specific roles, backs bringing the sparkle while forwards fight it out in the trenches. But the likes of New Zealand have brought the game to a different level over the past decade, enabling forwards to utilise the skills of a game usually reserved for fleet-footed backs.

Teams have taken notice and, among them, is the current Irish U20s set-up. At times, they may play a risky game but it cannot be denied that their expansive style is hugely entertaining and, at the moment, they look destined to win another Grand Slam after opening their tournament account with two impressive wins over Scotland and Italy.

Despite the likes of the mercurial Jack Crowley and the electric Andrew Smith lighting up Irish Independent Park over the last two weeks, the Irish forwards have produced some remarkable moments of note that are worthy of attention.

As well as carrying out their own duties whether it's mauling or winning lineouts or scrummaging, they have exhibited some sublime skills and only for the numbers on their backs they could easily be mistaken for teammates in the back-line.


Take David McCann, for example, who pulled a parabola of a pass out of the top drawer to set up Andrew Smith for a second half try tonight in Cork. He wasn't alone, given a number of the pack have showed a penchant for showing a clean pair of heels if shown a gap in their opponents' defence. Tom Ahern was another example, skimming down along the touch-line last week before going over  in the corner. The lock looked like an over-sized winger who had retained all his speed - a bull with the frenetic energy of a calf.

Flanker Mark Hernan produced two tries tonight in Cork, though it was his first that caught the eye. He showed an extraordinary burst of space within the opening two minutes of the game to block down Dafydd Buckland's attempted box-kick. This is the future of the game.

Backs are getting bigger; forwards are getting faster. And it seems like Ireland are staying ahead of the curve.

SEE ALSO: 'I Can't Understand It, Why Aren't They Playing With A Number Eight?'

Dylan Ryan

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