Reuben to captain Ireland side

Reuben to captain Ireland side

22 June 2022

BALLYNAHINCH’S Reuben Crothers has been named captain of the Ireland U-20 rugby team for the forthcoming summer series in Italy.

The Ulster back row has been retained as captain by head coach Richie Murphy.

Murphy has selected a travelling panel of 31 players for the tournament involving the Six Nations Unions, South Africa and Georgia.

Crothers, who led Ireland to U-20 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.

Also in the panel is Ballynahinch forward Josh Hanlon.

Murphy has called up a number of players who impressed for the Ireland U-19s against France earlier this season, with this four-match tournament providing invaluable development opportunities against high-level opposition.

The squad, which has been preparing for the tournament during a series of recent camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre, departed for Italy yesterday ahead of their opener against France in Verona on Friday.

Ireland will then face South Africa in their second Pool A outing next Wednesday before going head-to-head with Six Nations rivals England on Tuesday, July 5.

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 U-19s over the Easter period.”

He added: ”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.”