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3 players who stood out in Ireland U20s' Six Nations defeat to Wales

Captain James Ryan was excellent for Nigel Carolan’s men.

THE IRELAND U20s had a losing start to their Six Nations campaign as Wales came away with a 35-24 victory in Donnybrook.

Despite the defeat, a handful of Nigel Carolan’s side managed to impress as they looked to offload and break from deep inside their own half. There were, however, too many errors from the home team, who will need to improve for next week’s visit to France.

James Ryan

The Ireland captain is highly regarded within Irish rugby circles and his performance against Wales was the latest demonstration of why. The 108kg lock is a superb athlete, possessing power, a big engine and strong agility too.

James Ryan on the attack Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

His competence in the tackle was impressive for Ireland as he led the linespeed repeatedly, while his carrying was equally effective. The handful of clever offloads he added in beyond the tackle showed he has more than just physical ability.

Ryan has been capped by Leinster at A level already, but he looks like a man built for much higher honours. The St. Michael’s alumnus has a bright future ahead.

Adam McBurney

Ireland overthrew a pair of lineouts, but as ever the hooker alone can’t shoulder the blame in that department. Ulster U20 captain McBurney was otherwise highly accurate in his performance, particularly at the breakdown.

An experienced Welsh side were the better team in the post-tackle contest, both going forward and in defence, but McBurney stood out in this regard for the home team. Three times he made key steals on the deck near the Irish tryline as the Welsh looked set to score.

Compared to the mass around him, McBurney looked light but he competed aggressively throughout against a confident Welsh forward pack.

Shane Daly

Like the rest of the Irish team, Munster centre Daly certainly has room to improve ahead of next week’s clash in France, but there were signs of promise from the Cork Con man with ball in hand.

Shane Daly runs in for his side's final try Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

He ran a superb line off Kelvin Browne’s break in the first half, taking a deft offload from the Shannon back row and then throwing a risky offload to scrum-half Poland. Man of the match Poland is certainly worth mentioning too, with his support play in attack being particularly sharp.

The watching Joe Schmidt might have called Daly’s offload to Poland a 20/80 rather than a 50/50. Still, Daly was always positive with the ball and he also ran in a straightforward try.

There is a rawness to Daly’s play but physically he has a good frame and looks a very interesting prospect for the future.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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