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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Photo: MWI Irish U-20 squad arrive at Manchester City Academy Stadium for their captain's run on Monday.
# keeping enemies close
Ireland can't get away from rivals Wales as both squads end up in same hotel
The two sides go toe to toe in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Tuesday evening.

John Fallon reports from Manchester

IRELAND AND WALES have been unable to avoid each other in the Six Nations and World Rugby U20 Championship for the past few years — but they have been getting even closer in the last few days as they have been billeted in the same hotel.

Wales, Grand Slam winners of the Six Nations in March, have held the edge over Ireland at this level with three successive wins.

Nigel Carolan’s men will hope to bring that run to a halt when they clash in the opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championship at the magnificent Manchester City Academy Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Wales beat Ireland 35-24 in Donnybrook in February, having won 22-12 in Parma in this tournament last June, while the previous March Ireland went down 19-12 at Parc Eirias.

The sides also met the previous summer in the World Rugby U20 Championship in New Zealand where Ireland bounced back from their 16-0 home defeat in the Six Nations to defeat the Welsh 35-21.

But, as if they hadn’t seen enough of each other in recent years, they haven’t been able to avoid each other for the past few days since both took up residence in the Park Inn Radisson in Manchester city.

“We have been eye-balling them across the halls and all that,” remarked coach Carolan.

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“They are good lads and their management are great guys. No doubt that after this game we will able to share some advice and tactics,” he added.

The Irish squad have their training base at Trafford Metrovik RFC on the south-west of the city, but on Monday afternoon got their first taste of the splendid Manchester City Academy Stadium where they will play their three pool matches against Wales, New Zealand and Georgia.

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