Review | Ireland At The World Rugby U20 Championship
17th July 2023 By The Editor
The Ireland U20s produced some brilliant rugby over the last number of weeks to reach the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.
Unfortunately, the final proved one step too far as Ireland lost out to France in the final but the squad can hold their heads up high for what they achieved on and off the field.
In total, seven Munster players were selected in the squad for the tournament in South Africa with all players receiving game time throughout the competition.
In the opener against England, Evan O’Connell, Ruadhan Quinn and incoming Academy prop George Hadden all started the game with Hadden and Quinn notching a try each. Brian Gleeson also made an appearance in the second-half which saw both sides finish on 34 points apiece.
In the 30-10 win over Australia, Quinn and Gleeson both started with Gleeson notching a try for his side. O’Connell, Danny Sheahan and Jack Oliver made appearances from the bench with Oliver slotting a conversion when converting Diarmuid Mangan’s second-half try. This was Oliver’s competitive Ireland U20 debut.
Against Fiji, Hadden, Sheahan and Gleeson all started and scored tries for Ireland with O’Connell also starting in that final pool game. Max Clein made his tournament debut from the bench as Ireland ran out 47-27 winners.
In the semi-final against South Africa, Gleeson scored his third try of the competition as he started once again alongside Munster teammate Quinn. O’Connell, Hadden and Sheahan made appearances in the second-half with Ireland progressing to the final against France thanks to a 31-12 win.
In the final, Quinn and Gleeson both started in the back-row with O’Connell, Hadden and Clein also seeing minutes in the second half. However, Ireland were unable to lift the trophy as they fell to 14-50 loss to France.
Shannon winger Josh Costello also joined the squad ahead of the final pool game against Fiji.
Throughout the competition, Gleeson was awarded Player of the Match for his performances against South Africa and Australia while Danny Sheahan also received that accolade for his efforts in the final Pool clash against Fiji.