Irish captain James Ryan expressed his pride in his teammates’ performances at the World Rugby U-20 Championship and will look back on great memories from the event, but was bitterly disappointed to come up short in the final.
“I think we’ll sit down in the future and look back on a pretty successful tournament, beating Grand Slam champions, beating the Baby Blacks.
“We did come near to winning it though and to come out second best today is disappointing. But there has definitely been some huge wins.”
Ryan was particularly proud of the way Ireland regrouped and scored three tries in the second-half.
“I think at that moment we just said we’ve just got to show a bit of fight. It’s one thing this group has shown time and time again, the never-say-die attitude. We were 21-0 down at half-time and we came back and scored three times in the second-half, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Ryan insists there are many top-class players in the squad who can go on to a achieve a lot in the game.
“A lot of potential. Some really standout guys in this tournament. I think Ian Porter was brilliant, McBurney, Deegan, Stockdale, a lot of really good players. I think they are guys we’ll be seeing in the future.”
Ireland coach Nigel Carolan also pay tribute to his captain.
“He has been an immense captain. He would have been involved in all five games bar an injury picked up in the second one. Again, James just epitomised really what this Irish team is all about.
“He is very professional in his approach and his preparation, how he carries himself on the pitch and he just didn’t stop fighting there for 80 minutes. He came be extremely proud as the rest of the guys can of their performance.”
Carolan also praised the large Irish support at the match at the AJ Bell stadium.
“We needed that 16th man and it must give a huge boost to these men when they are on the pitch, particularly when their back is against the wall, just to have that encouragement. They knew not only the people that were here, the thousands that would be roaring at their TVs back in Ireland for these players to just keep going, we knew they were all behind them.”
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