16 January 2024

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Three Connacht Players named in Irish U20 Squad for Six Nations

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Three Connacht Players named in Irish U20 Squad for Six Nations

Head Coach Richie Murphy has today named a 31-man Ireland U20s squad, for the upcoming 2024 U20 Six Nations, including five players who were involved in last year’s Grand Slam-winning campaign and second place finish at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Munster second row Evan O’Connell has been appointed captain ahead of Ireland’s opening fixture against France at Stade Maurice David on Saturday, 3 February (Kick-off 9.10pm local time/8.10pm Irish time).

O’Connell and second row partner Joe Hopes, alongside back row Brian Gleeson and centre Hugh Gavin, are named in the 2024 Championship squad having featured for Murphy’s side last year.

Ireland open their Championship away in France before back-to-back home matches at Musgrave Park against Italy on Friday, 9 February (Kick-off 7.15pm) and Wales on Friday, 23 February (Kick-off 7.15pm).

Murphy’s side will then go head-to-head with England at The Recreation Ground in Bath on Friday, 8 March (Kick-off 7.15pm), before concluding the Championship against Scotland in Cork on Friday, 15 March (Kick-off 7pm).

The Ireland squad have been building towards the Six Nations through a series of camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre, while Challenge Matches against Italy, Munster Development and Leinster Development over the Christmas period have aided preparations.

Speaking at today’s squad announcement and media day at PwC HQ in Dublin, Murphy also confirmed his coaching staff for the 2024 Championship, with Willie Faloon (Defence and Lineout) and Aaron Dundon (Scrum and Contact Coach) continuing in their roles and former Ireland international Ian Keatley joining the team as Backs Coach.

“We have been working hard for a number of weeks and it’s an exciting time for these young players, who have the honour of representing the wider group in the Six Nations,” Murphy said.

“We as coaches have pushed the players over the last number of months and I have been impressed by their work-rate, commitment and application. Now our focus turns to performance and the opening game against France, which we know will be a big challenge first up.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities over the coming weeks and are excited by the prospect of an Ireland U20s team returning to Six Nations action at Musgrave Park in Cork, where we always have huge support.”

Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner at PwC Ireland, commented: “At PwC, as we enter our nineteenth year as sponsors of the Ireland U20 squad, we are excited about the start of the 2024 U20 Six Nations Championship.

“As Grand Slam Champions for the past two years we are confident Ireland can keep up the momentum with a strong performance in this year’s Championship. The dedication and team-work that the U20s show is always exceptional and mirrors our own values at PwC. We wish the team the very best of luck in the upcoming Championship.”

IRFU President, Greg Barrett, added: “The onset of a Championship is always a hugely exciting time and the U20s programme is a very important part of Irish Rugby, with previous squads enjoying tremendous success over the years, including last season’s Grand Slam win and second place finish at the U20 World Rugby Championship in South Africa.

“The players have all worked incredibly hard, supported by coaches, parents, schools and clubs to attain this level and they are now about to represent their country in this very prestigious and world class tournament. I wish them every success in the forthcoming games and know that they will show Irish Rugby at its best.

“To PwC, I thank you again for your ongoing support as sponsors of the Ireland U20s. I know that this will be your nineteenth year of this sponsorship which is greatly appreciated and has been a major factor in the development of these squads to be able to compete and be successful at this very high level of competition.”

Tickets for Ireland’s home matches at Musgrave Park are available to purchase now via Ticketmaster.ie.

Ireland U20s Squad:

Forwards (17):

Alex Usanov (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Ben Howard (Terenure College RFC/Leinster)
Danny Sheahan (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
Henry Walker (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Stephen Smyth (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
Patreece Bell (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
Jacob Boyd (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Andrew Sparrow (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Joe Hopes (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
Billy Corrigan (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(captain)
Alan Spicer (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Bryn Ward (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Sean Edogbo (UCC RFC/Munster)
Josh Stevens (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Brian Gleeson (Garryowen FC/Munster)
Luke Murphy (Shannon RFC/Munster)

Backs (14):

Oliver Coffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Tadhg Brophy (Naas RFC/Leinster)
Will Wootton (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
Jake O’Riordan (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Jack Murphy (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Sean Naughton (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
Hugo McLaughlin (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Ethan Graham (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Hugh Gavin (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
Rory Ellerby (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster)
Wilhelm de Klerk (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Finn Treacy (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
Stephen Kiely (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Ben O’Connor (UCC RFC/Munster)

Ireland U20 Fixtures:

  • Saturday, 3 February: France v Ireland, Stade Maurice David, 9.10pm local time/8.10pm Irish time
  • Friday, 9 February: Ireland v Italy, Musgrave Park, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 23 February: Ireland v Wales, Musgrave Park, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 8 March: England v Ireland, Recreation Ground, 7.15pm
  • Friday, 15 March: Ireland v Scotland, Musgrave Park, 7pm

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