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Richie Murphy's Ireland U20s Gearing Up For 2022 U20 Six Nations

Richie Murphy's Ireland U20s Gearing Up For 2022 U20 Six Nations
By Colman Stanley Updated

We're less than a month from the U20 Six Nations. Over the past few weeks, the Ireland u20s - who are sponsored by PwC Ireland - have been racking up plenty of minutes of intense competition after games against Italy u20s, Munster Development XV, and Leinster Development XV.

These games have given coach Richie Murphy the perfect canvas to get to know his players. Along with his assistants he will have intensely analysed the ability of a wide range of players, looked at combinations, and honed tactics.

While this preparation is ideal, the results will probably have left Murphy and his squad with a small bit of concern. But nothing that cannot be rectified before the commencement of the Six Nations on February 4th.

Ireland’s first warm up game came against Italy in UCD on December 18th. They suffered a 15-8 defeat.

Scores came through a penalty from Garryowen outhalf Tony Butler and a second half try from Clontarf winger Aitzol King.

The result however was not a huge cause for concern as it was a warm-up game, and the Italians are significantly more competitive at u20s than they are at senior level.

18 December 2021; Conor Moloney of Ireland in action against Gianluca Tomaselli of Italy during the U20's International match between Ireland and Italy at UCD Bowl in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Next up came a game against a Munster Development XV at Musgrave Park, with the u20s winning out 21-13.

Naturally, it was an improved and more cohesive performance by the Ireland u20s, and they produced a particularly strong second half to pull away from Munster.

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They trailed 13-7 at the break, with their scores coming through captain and Ballynahinch flanker Reuben Crothers, and a conversion from Landsdowne outhalf Charlie Tector.

They kept Munster scoreless in the second period and added tries from UCD centre Fionn Gibbons and Queen’s University flanker Lorcan McLoughlin. Tector added the extras.

McLoughlin came through the IQ Rugby players system, having gone to school in Dorset. Chay Mullins of Bristol Bears who started on the wing, came through the system as well.

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On the Munster side, there were also players looking to impress Richie Murphy. Outhalf Tony Butler who had played against Italy was now on the opposing team, and other members of the Munster Development side would line out for the Ireland u20s against Leinster Development.

Next up came Leinster Development XV in Donnybrook yesterday. Ireland u20s suffered a second defeat, going down 24-21 thanks to a solo try at the death from Leinster winger Donal Conroy.

Conroy is no stranger to such scores, and dotted down for a similar superb effort for Newbridge in the 2020 Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

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Gibbons added another try to his Ireland u20s tally, while Corinthians scrumhalf Matthew Devine and Ballymena hooker James McCormack also crossed the whitewash. Again Tector showed his prowess off the tee by adding three conversions.

The Leinster side featured some notable names such as Jack Dunne, Alex Soroka, Thomas Clarkson, and David Hawkshaw, all of whom have lined out for Leinster’s 1st XV.

Hawkshaw’s brother Daniel had also played for the Ireland u20s in the game against Munster Development.

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Leinster’s XV also featured Ben Popplewell at loosehead. He is the son of former Ireland and Lions prop Nick Popplewell, and he featured for Ireland u20s against Italy.

7 January 2022; Ben Brownlee of Ireland offloads under pressure from Chris Cosgrave and David Dooley of Leinster during a development match between Leinster A and Ireland U20 at Energia Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The u20s next game will be in the Six Nations against Wales on Friday February 4th in Musgrave Park.

It gives Murphy’s side a lot of time to hone his play style, and give his squad the best chance of living up to the fantastic exploits of Noel McNamara’s Ireland u20s sides.

See Also: Roy Keane Sums Up The Madness Of Jack Butland's FA Cup Horror Show

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