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Six Nations: New look U-20 side aim to rock the Scots

By Michael Sadlier

Ireland Under-20s begin their Six Nations campaign with a much altered squad from last season as they take on Scotland tonight at Athlone's Dubarry Park (kick-off 7.05pm, live on RTE2).

Coach Mike Ruddock's inexperienced selection has a distinctly Leinster orientation to it with 10 of the starting side coming from the southern province while seven of those players all ply their trade with UCD in the AIL's Division 1B.

Indeed, the only non-Leinster member of the backline is at full-back where David Busby is Ulster's sole representative on the side.

UCD also provide this season's skipper and openside flanker Dan Leavy who at least brings some useful experience to the mix after playing four times for the side in last summer's U20 World Cup while the college's half-back combination of scrum-half Nick McCarthy and out-half Ross Byrne should at least be familiar with each other's game in what will be a big step-up for most of Ruddock's side.

Ruddock is confident but has admitted that it is difficult to know how his charges will fare with so many being introduced to this level.

"Some will take to the big lights and the big stage and be ready for action," the former Wales coach said.

"Others might find it a little bit daunting. But this group have high hopes of delivering a strong performance and past experience tells me that these guys normally rise to the occasion."

Belfast Telegraph


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