Tuesday 4 June 2013

Meet the Wolfpuppies...

Ireland Squad for the Junior World Championships in France:

I will be paying a lot of attention to the Junior World Championships, including preview Ireland's opponents, and looking at some of the stars of the tournament.


Daragh Leader (Connacht)

via rte.ie

DOB: 22/05/1993
Under 20's Caps: 3
Connacht Caps: 1

The likely first choice fullback in this competition given that Henshaw and Olding are not involved. Leader has had a good season and was nominated for Connacht Under 20 player of the year. Leader will be the main player ensuring that the absence of Olding and Henshaw won't be that damaging.

He played in three 6 Nations games, with two starts against Scotland and Italy, and a sub appearance against France.

He is also one of a small number of players in the squad with Rabo Pro 12 experience having made his debut for Connacht against the Dragons last October.

He is versatile enough to play on the wing if needs be.

Update: On the bench in the first game vs Australia.

Darren Sweetnam (Munster)

DOB: 05/05/1993
Under 20's caps: 4

The former Cork hurler was an ever present in the Wolfpuppies matchday squads this season, with all but one of his appearances coming from the bench. Primarily thought of as a fullback, his one start was against Italy on the wing.

Hopes are high for Sweetnam down in Munster, so it's likely that this will not be the last you hear of him.

He is the likely back three cover in the 23.


Rory Scholes (Ulster)

via irishrugby.ie

DOB: 24/04/1993
Under 20's caps: 5

Started all five games for the Wolfpuppies on the left wing in the 6 Nations. A converted fullback, he has the security under the high ball, and pace and intelligence on the counter. One of Ireland's best performers in Spring, and will be looking to feature for Ulster Ravens from next season and challenging the young talent coming through.

Update: Starts at left wing in the first game

David Panter (Connacht)

DOB: 03/02/1993
Under 20's caps: 5

Started 3 of the 5 games for the Wolfpuppies in the 6 Nations, with two bench appearances. Very likely to start, and a very solid performer. Only question is, will he start on the right wing or at fullback?

Outside Centres:

Adam Byrne (Leinster)

by Tom Dwyer via sportsfile.com

DOB: 10/04/1994
Leinster caps: 1

The first newcomer into the squad, Adam Byrne is the youngest player to ever represent Leinster. A former Manchester United academy player, he is a big quick strong ball carrier, who can also play in the back three. He will give serious competition to the back three, and is a bolter to start.

His long term future will be at outside centre, and he will be a feature in the Under 20's next year aswell.

Update: Starts on the Right wing in the first game.

Thomas Daly (Leinster)

DOB: 31/07/1993
Under 20 Caps: 5

Like Scholes, started every game in the 6 Nations. He was the team's placekicker, and was rewarded with a number of Man of the Match awards. His performances in the 6 Nations also earned him a place in Leinster's academy for next season.

Solid in defence, and an honest straight runner in attack, his biggest value is his goalkicking, in a team lacking alternatives.

Features in dementedmole's 4 UP

Starts at inside centre in the first game.

Thomas Farrell (Ulster)

DOB: Unknown

Another newcomer to the 20's, Farrell was injured for the 6 Nations. Hopes are high for him in Ulster, but there is a feeling that his injured namesake, Chris Farrell is the better of the two Ulster Farrell centers. I haven't seen enough of Thomas to comment properly.

Update: Starts at outside centre in the first game

Inside Centres:

Rory Scanell (Munster)

via irishrugby.ie

DOB: 22/12/1993
Under 20 Caps: 5

Brother of Niall, the former captain of the Under 20's, Rory has just been rewarded with a place in the Munster academy for next season. Started every game of the 6 Nations, with an appearance at outhalf aswell, Scannell is a certain starter.

Was forced into placekicking duties with Daly's injury in Italy, and performed admirably. A typical workmanlike player, which is a feature of this team.

Features in dementedmole's 4 UP

Update: Starts at fullback in the first game.

Mark Roche (Connacht)

DOB: Unknown
Under 20 Caps: 3

His style of play is very similar to Scannell's, a strong runner, with a solid boot and good range of passing. Will be a useful squad member and likely bench spot.

Starts on the bench in the first game.


Steve Crosbie (Leinster)

By Steve Pope via sportsfile.com

DOB: 10/02/1993
Under 20 caps: 3

Steve Crosbie is the only outhalf named in the squad, with Rory Scannell the expected backup.

Crosbie is an exciting running outhalf, who I suspect will find a future in inside centre. Watch his breaks, his range of passing and strong tackling.

Definitely one to watch in the tournament and in the future, having been named in Leinster's academy next season.

Starting outhalf in the first game


Luke McGrath (Leinster)

DOB: 03/02/1993
Under 20 Caps: 19
Leinster caps: 1

The captain, standout performer and by far most experienced member of the team. McGrath is the heartbeat of the side, with outstanding defensive sweeping, and quick service from the rucks.

He impressed in his Leinster debut against the Ospreys, creating a try with a break and offload. See more here

Starts as captain in the first game

David Shanahan (Leinster)

DOB: Unknown
Under 20 Caps: 1

Has one sub appearance to his name, and managed to beat off John Creighton to the second scrum-half spot, but in reality, Luke McGrath will be playing as many minutes as he can.

Bench for the first game.

Loosehead Props:

Peter Dooley (Leinster)

DOB: 04/08/1994
Under 20s caps: 5

The undisputed first choice, starting all 5 6 Nations games, Dooley is eligible for selection next year, he will be one to watch out for.

Starts in the first game

Adam Boland (Connacht)

DOB: Unknown
Under 20s caps: 5

Boland was on the bench for every game in the 6 Nations. The Connacht prop will be hoping for more gametime in the JWC.

Starts at tighthead in the first game.

Edward Byrne (Leinster)

DOB: 09/09/1993

The Byrne twins have long been heralded as players to watch out for, and yet, failed to make the squads for the 6 Nations until the final game where Brian came off the bench.

Edward is a big scrumagging prop, who happens to be very mobile. Highly thought of by Leinster, not so much by Ruddock, will be interesting to see what sort of gametime he gets.

On the bench in the first game.


George McGuigan (Exiles)

via irishrugby.ie
DOB: 30/03/1993
Under 20s caps: 4

Started every game except the Italian game, where he wasn't involved. Almost certain first choice.

Starts in the first game.

Brian Byrne (Leinster)

DOB: 09/09/1993
Under 20s caps: 1

Much like his twin Edward, highly thought of, big scrummager and mobile.

Has Under 20 experience after coming off the bench in Italy, and will get more time to play in the JWC with only two hookers.

On the bench in the first game.

Tighthead Props:

Chris Taylor (Ulster)

via irishrugby.ie
DOB: 11/03/1993
Under 20 caps: 4

The Irish scrum held up better than usual, and exerted some pressure at times in the 6 Nations. My only conclusion from this is that Chris Taylor is a handy scrummager, and his development will be closely watched in the future

Ryan Furniss (Exiles)

DOB: 17/02/1993
Under 20 caps:
Worcester caps: 1

I haven't seen enough of him to know, but having a Worcester cap already when Euan Murray and John Andress are at the club looks promising for this Exile.

On the bench in the first game.

Second Rows:

Gavin Thornbury (Leinster)

via irishrugby.ie
DOB: 19/10/1993
Under 20s caps: 4

The first choice lock in the 6 Nations, Thornbury is a impressive lineout operator at 6'8'', and featured heavily in herald.ie 's "Four for the Blue's future"

John Donnan (Ulster)

DOB: 16/02/1993
Under 20 caps: 5

Played in every game for Ireland in the 6 Nations, and struck up a good partnership with Thornbury. Will be looking to continue in the JWC.

Starts in the first game.

Sean McCarthy (Munster)

DOB: 12/02/1993
Under 20 caps: 4

A Munster academy player, will be looking to add to his bench appearances in this tournament.

On the bench in the first game.

Blindside Flankers:

Conor Joyce (Ulster)

via irishrugby.ie

DOB: 05/07/1993
Under 20s Caps: 4
Ulster caps: 2

Conor Joyce was a colossus for Ireland, and only missed a 6 Nations game because he was called up to the Ulster squad.

A Strong player, who gets through a lot of work and tackles, and almost always carries over the gainline. One to watch out for. A Key player.

Starts at blindside in the first game

Peadar Timmins (Leinster)

DOB: 08/01/1994
Under 20 caps: 5

It's scary to think that Timmins has another year left at this level. He had an impressive 6 Nations and got through a lot of work. A very useful squad member, and likely back row bench member. Can play second row too.

Starts in the second row in the first game.

Openside Flankers:

Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

via leinsterrugby.ie
DOB: 25/04/1993
Under 20 caps: 5

One of only two players in the squad that return from last year's squad. van der Flier is highly thought of, and his presence brought the best out of the players around him. A vital cog in the back row.

Starts at openside in the first game.

Dan Leavy (Leinster)

via irishrugby.ie
DOB: 23/05/1994

A Leinster School's Cup winning captain, a former Ireland 18's and 19s captain, Leavy has leader written all over him. Already featuring in a Leinster A team that includes some talent, there is serious hope for one of the better back rowers in the Leinster academy.

Big words indeed. His time may not be in this tournament, but one to watch next season for sure.

Starts on the bench in the first game.

No. 8's:

Ryan Murphy (Munster)

via irishrugby,ie

DOB: 05/03/1993
Under 20's caps: 5

One of the better performers from this 20s side from the 6 Nations. Murphy started the first two games as an openside flanker with Josh van der Flier coming back from injury without too much success.

Once van der Flier came back, and Murphy moved to his natural position, it was evident how talented this player can be. A strong ball carrier, he is the main Munster player to watch out for from this team.

Starts at no. 9 in the first game.

Jack O'Donoghue (Munster)

DOB: 08/01/1994

One of the youngest in the Munster academy, O'Donoghue will be a feature of the team next year, and will be better for this experience.

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