Munster Rugby and Ireland U20 player Ethan Coughlan
EIGHT Munster Rugby players have been included in Head Coach Richie Murphy's Ireland U20s Squad for the upcoming U20 Summer Series in Italy.
Murphy has selected a travelling panel of 31 players for the tournament involving the Six Nations Unions, South Africa and Georgia.
Ulster back row Reuben Crothers, who led Ireland to U20 Six Nations Grand Slam glory in March, once again captains the team, with the likes of Conor O'Tighearnaigh, James McCormick, Aitzol King and Fionn Gibbons named in the squad after their starring roles during the memorable Championship win.
Murphy has called up a number of players who impressed for the Ireland U19s against France earlier this season, with this four-match tournament providing invaluable development opportunities against high-level opposition.
The squad have been preparing for the tournament during a series of recent camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre, and Murphy's side will depart for Italy on Tuesday ahead of their campaign opener against France at the Payanini Centre in Verona on Friday, 24 June (Kick-off 7pm, Irish time).
Ireland will then face South Africa in their second Pool A outing on Wednesday, 28 June (Kick-off 7pm, Irish time), before going head-to-head with Six Nations rivals England on Tuesday, 5 July (Kick-off 7pm, Irish time).
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Head Coach Murphy said: "It has been great to be back in camp over the last couple of weeks, building towards the Summer Series. Underage rugby is all about development and helping this group understand what it takes to be a professional player and the next month provides us with the opportunity to develop further.
"It has been a long season and unfortunately a number of players from our Six Nations campaign have been ruled out but that provides others with opportunity, and it will be brilliant to see our squad depth tested, to grow our player base and reward those who performed well for the Ireland U19s over the Easter period.
"We have some formidable opposition in the shape of France, South Africa and England with tight turnarounds between matches and it will be a tough test for us, but the group are really excited about the challenge."
Feargal O’Rourke, PwC Ireland Managing Partner, commented: "As a sponsor of Irish Rugby for 16 years, we're delighted to support the U20s at the Summer Tournament in Italy. They face tough opposition but we have no doubt they will rise to the challenge.
"Developing young talent is a strategic imperative for PwC and we are committed to nurturing the aspirations of future leaders, in business and in sport. At PwC, we are challenging our young people to think beyond the everyday and the expected, so that we can provide the very best solutions to our clients that add value to their businesses.
"We know that Irish Rugby shares the same approach to developing young players and we also have similar values. Whether on the pitch or in business, competencies such as excellence, teamwork and leadership are key ingredients for success.
"The team are great ambassadors for Ireland, for Irish Rugby and for PwC and we wish them the best of luck in the upcoming games #FutureIsGreen."
Every game of the U20 Summer Series will be streamed via the Six Nations Rugby U20 YouTube channel, and there will be coverage of Ireland's progress on IrishRugby.ie and across IrishRugby social media channels.
Ireland U20s Squad:
Adam McNamee (Malone RFC/Ulster)
Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
Conor O'Tighearnaigh (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Darragh McSweeney (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Diarmuid Mangan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Dominic Rhys Hey (Gloucester Hartpury Rugby/IQ Rugby)
George Hadden (Gorey RFC/Leinster)
George Shaw (Cardiff University/IQ Rugby)
James McCormick (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
James McNabney (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
Joseph Mawhinney (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
Josh Hanlon (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Kieran Ryan (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Lorcan McLoughlin (Queen's University Belfast/Ulster)
Oisin Michel (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Ronan O'Sullivan (Highfield RFC/Munster)
Reuben Crothers (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)(Captain)
Scott Wilson (Queen's University Belfast/Ulster)
Aitzol King (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Andrew O'Mahony (UCC RFC/Munster)
Daniel Hawkshaw (Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
David Dooley (MU Barnhall RFC/Leinster)
Dylan O'Grady (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Ethan Coughlan (Shannon RFC/Munster)
Fionn Gibbons (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Tony Butler (Garryowen FC/Munster)
George Coomber (UCC RFC/Munster)
Michael Moloney (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Reece Malone (Loughborough University/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Shay McCarthy (Young Munster RFC/Munster).
Ireland U20s Fixtures:
France v Ireland, Payanini Centre, Verona, Friday, June 24, 7pm
Ireland v South Africa, Payanini Centre, Verona, Wednesday, June 29, 7pm
Ireland v England, Payanini Centre, Verona, Tuesday, July 5, 7pm.
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