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The next generation - 5 Ireland stars to keep an eye on during the U20 Six Nations

Nigel Carolan’s squad is bursting with talent.

IRELAND U20s KICK-OFF a busy weekend of Six Nations action this Friday evening when they take on their Welsh counterparts in Donnybrook. 

Ahead of this year’s campaign, here are five of Nigel Carolan’s squad to keep a close eye on over the next couple of weeks.

Andrew Porter

Andrew Porter makes a break on his way to scoring their third try Porter in action for UCD earlier this season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The former St Andrew’s College student is one of four players from last year back again, but this time Porter will be a integral part of Ireland’s scrum.

The loosehead prop made his mark during last summer’s World Rugby U20 Championship after coming on just 11 minutes into the tournament and is, by all accounts, Cian Healy reincarnated.

The Leinster academy player has played seven times at this level and is one of the more experienced members of the panel.

 Jacob Stockdale

Jacob Stockdale Stockdale featured for Ulster against Leinster in a pre-season friendly. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Injury robbed the Ulster winger of the chance to showcase himself during last year’s Championship but he’s back in the squad this time around and big things are expected.

The 19-year-old was one of Ireland’s standout performers in Italy last year and earned a call-up to the Ulster senior squad for pre-season training. The Wallace High School graduate is comfortable operating across the backline and his pace and footwork make him a potent attacking threat.

We may, however, have to wait to see Stockdale in an Ireland jersey again as he’s set to line-out for his province in a Pro12 fixture against Dragons on Friday evening.

Jack Power

Jack Power runs in to score their first try Power scoring for Ireland U18s against England two years ago. Source: Szymon Gruchalski/INPHO

Power missed out on selection twelve months ago but has come on leaps and bounds after spending the year playing for Leinster U20s and his form saw him earn a call-up to the province’s ‘A’ team.

The full-back, who can also play in the centre, is a raw talent and a natural leader after helping Blackrock College to back-to-back senior cups in 2013 and 2014.

Power has experienced a rapid rise through the ranks and now has the chance to reproduce his form on the international stage.

Johnny McPhillips

Johnny McPhillips and Jordan Burns Johnny McPhillips in action for the Ilster Ravens. Source: Presseye/Declan Roughan/INPHO

The 18-year-old is one of the most exciting prospects at Ulster and has already made a big impression during his time in Belfast. McPhillips was raised and educated in England, catching the eye playing for his school Sedbergh, and has continued his development in the province’s academy.

He largely operated at fullback in school but McPhillips has made the switch to out-half and could make his Ireland debut this weekend.

John Poland

John Poland Poland has been on the radar for some time. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Munster scrum-half John Poland is preparing for his first campaign with Ireland U20s but has been a notable presence on the underage inter-provincial scene for the last number of seasons.

He is capped at Ireland U19 and captained his school, PBC Cork, last season. With Nick McCarthy now unavailable, Carolan is hoping to fill the void at scrumhalf and Poland could be his man.

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Ryan Bailey

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