Ireland coach Mike Ruddock believes his side must counter the physicality of their English opponents in tomorrow’s RBS U20 Six Nations clash at Adams Park if they are to achieve their grand slam dream.
Ruddock’s side top the table with a perfect record from four games. However England, defeated by France last weekend, can ruin the Irish celebrations and snatch the Triple Crown with victory. But the Irish coach believes the experience of victory against the French in Grenoble (12-13) will stand to his men in the showdown.
He said: “The players stood shoulder to shoulder, under pressure in a tough environment, in front of 10,000 French people cheering their team on. We held on in those final moments and even managed to turnover their scrum and get a shock victory. Because of that they have been galvanised and know that they are good enough to go to England and do something special.”
But Ruddock isn’t underestimating the challenge tomorrow night.
“England will try and maul us, drive us in the scrum and out-power us around the corner. The key to victory will be us making our tackles. We have to put them on the floor. Wales, Scotland and Italy failed to do that and only France were able to address the physicality England bring. We have to match their physicality because, if we don’t, it is going to be a long night.”
The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 2 from 8.05pm.
IRELAND (U20 v England): S Layden (Buccs, Connacht); C Finn (Buccs, Connacht), C Farrell (Dungannon, Ulster), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohs, Munster), F Horan (Lansdowne, Leinster); P Jackson (Dungannon, Ulster) (c), L McGrath (UCD, Leinster); D Merrey (Clontarf, Leinster), N Scannell (Dolphin, Munster), K McCall (Ballynahinch, Ulster), I Henderson (Queens, Ulster), D Qualter (Buccs, Connacht), C Gilsenan (UCD, Leinster), A Conneely (Corinthians, Connacht), J Conan (Old Belvedere, Leinster).
Replacements: James Rael (Garryowen, Munster), P Reilly (Lansdowne, Leinster), J Cawley (Old Belvedere, Leinster), T Beirne (Lansdowne, Leinster), J Coghlan (UCD, Leinster), K Marmion (Corinthians, Connacht), C Marsh (Dublin University, Leinster), S Olding (Belfast Harlequins, Ulster).
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