Ireland Under 20 head coach Nigel Carolan praises players ahead of World Rugby U20 Championships final

Nigel Carolan
Nigel Carolan

Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan believes Saturday’s World Rugby U20 Championships final is reward for the graft and endeavour of his players.

The Irish will meet England in the showpiece decider at the AJ Bell Stadium in Manchester (7pm).

Head Coach Carolan has retained the same 23 that defeated Argentina 37-7 in the semi-final last Monday.

The front-row is made up of Andrew Porter, Adam McBurney and Ben Betts, with captain James Ryan partnered in the second row by Sean O’Connor.

Max Deegan, who has been nominated as player of the tournament starts at number 8, with flankers David Aspil and Greg Jones either side of him.

Half-backs Stephen Kerins and Johnny McPhillips will have Conor O’Brien and Shane Daly outside them at centre.

Jacob Stockdale, who has scored four tries so far at the championship, will start at full-back with Matthew Byrne and Hugo Keenan on the wings.

Speaking ahead of the final, Carolan said: “When this group of players came together for the Six Nations earlier this year, they showed a willingness and a desire to learn and grow together as a group.

“They have put in the hard work on and off the field this season and their reward for that is tomorrow evening’s final against England.

“All the players came through the game against Argentina on Monday and we have had a good few days of preparation so I think everyone is now just looking forward to getting the game underway tomorrow.”

Saturday’s game will mark the first time an Irish U20 has reached the final of this competition.