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Dublin: 14 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019
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Peadar Timmins: Ireland can't afford another flop against aggressive Welsh

The 20-year-old is confident his U20 teammates can right the wrong of a Six Nations lost to the Welsh.

Peadar Timmins is hoping to get Ireland's JWC on track against Wales.
Peadar Timmins is hoping to get Ireland's JWC on track against Wales.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

PEADAR TIMMINS IS one of only four survivors from an Ireland U20 team that turned heads at last year’s Junior World Championship. An opening day triumph over Australia, in 2013, set the Irish up for a long run in the competition.

Opening day action, on Monday, brought only defeat for Mike Ruddock’s men and this Friday [6:35am kick-off] they face a Wales side that beat them 16-0 in the Six Nations and have already thumped Fiji. A defeat would erase any lingering hopes of a spot in the last four.

The Leinster back row was part of that narrowly missed out on a semi-final after losing 31-26 to New Zealand. This year’s tournament is taking place in the Land of the Long White Cloud [NZ] and Timmins is thrilled be be involved. “When you think of rugby, automatically everything thinks of New Zealand. So, going over there to play in a World Cup is a dream come true.

Timmins feels Ireland ‘left a bit out on the pitch’ during Six Nations defeats to France and Wales. “We got into areas where we could have put points on the board but we weren’t clinical and did not take our chances… We went into the Six Nations thinking we could win  it so after such a good start against Scotland, at home, it was really disappointing to go out and flop — that’s the only word for it — like we did against Wales.”

Yacouba Camara takes the linout ball France's Yacouba Camara claims a line-out ahead of Timmins. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

The flanker acknowledges the JWC is all about momentum so wins over Wales and Fiji could yet put his team in the mix for the last four. “If we take our chances,” he declared, “we can beat any team in the world, on our day.”

Rather than baulk at the prospect of needing to now go unbeaten to win the championship, Timmins is enthused about the prospect. “You’re on a world stage, in front of everybody. There’s nowhere to hide out there and you’re coming up against the best players in the world at your age. You know that if you can match them, it will really build your confidence for the years ahead.

Last year we beat Australia, Fiji and came so close to the All Blacks. Those results really makes you believe that you can take that step up to the professional world.”

Wolfpuppies coach Mike Ruddock led the senior Wales team to the 2005 Six Nations Grand Slam. He is hoping the weather in Auckland is not similar to Dubarry Park that led to ’a strange old game when I don’t think our backs got dirty’. “It was such a brutal night in the wind and rain,” he said. “No excuses, Wales beat us up front in an arm-wrestle. They out-scrummaged us. A couple of their props, Nicky Thomas and James Benjamin, were better on the night and they asked massive questions of our front row.”

“What we weren’t able to do on the night was get the ball away from the scrum. The lineout proved very difficult and ball from there was slow. They continually disrupted, and dealt with, the front of the line-out by collapsing it. We had no options to play middle or wide as the whether was so bad so we couldn’t play a Plan B.”

Ruddock has introduced some improved coping strategies and alternative tactics so that Ireland can extricate themselves from another arm-wrestle if that is the goal Wales are intent on pursuing. Adding players such as Ryan Foley and Craig Trenier to the pack should help and the former Wales national coach is confident ‘if we move the ball out to the backs, we can do good things’.

*Ireland U20s take on Wales this Friday at 6:35am on TG4.

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Patrick McCarry

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