Ruddock relishing World Cup challenge

Ireland U20 coach Mike Ruddock said he is not concerned their best ever finish at the Junior World Championship last year has not netted them a more favourable draw this season.

Ireland will open their JWC pool campaign in France next week against Australia and will then face Fiji and New Zealand.

Ireland would have been hopeful of avoiding at least one of the big guns having finished fifth in South Africa last year. But surprise results, such as Wales becoming the first side in the history of the competition to defeat New Zealand, had a big impact.

“You want to pit yourself against the best nations in the world. This competition is all about developing players and this will be a good experience.

“It will be tough but it will give these young players a good insight into international rugby and in that context it is a great opportunity to play southern hemisphere teams given that we have the Six Nations here,” he said.

Ruddock announces his squad today. “Guys like Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Iain Henderson have come through for Ireland. It gives them a good grounding,” said the ex-Wales Grand Slam-winning coach.


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