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Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Ireland U20s prop Jack Boyle.
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Ireland prop Jack Boyle embracing second shot at U20 Six Nations
The loosehead is one of only four players in the current squad who also featured in last year’s championship.

IRELAND U20s PROP Jack Boyle is asked to describe his first memory of being involved with rugby, and thinks back to the late 2010s.

The scene is the RDS, and Boyle is in the tunnel, ready to help lead Leinster out as team mascot for a Celtic League clash against the Scarlets.

“I remember putting on all the gear I got in the post and then walking out with Leo Cullen,” says Boyle.

“That was a very vague memory, but that’s the first introduction to the RDS and the atmosphere.

I always had a love for rugby, really. I was brought down to Old Wesley at five-years-old and fell in love with it then. Obviously the memory (of being Leinster mascot) would definitely have a big impact but I’ve always loved the game really.”

Boyle is currently in his first year with the Leinster Academy, having come through the age grades at Old Wesley and winning a Senior Schools Cup with St Michael’s College in 2019, scoring two first-half tries in the final against Gonzaga.

A dynamic presence in the Ireland U20s front-row, the loosehead can perhaps put some of his explosive power down to his time competing in the hammer and long jump, winning bronze medals in both at Leinster Schools level.

“I preferred the long jump,” Boyle says.

It was during the off-season, so I just gave it a shot and I was actually half decent in the hammer throw and then ended up being half decent in the long jump as well. It is important to have external things to go to, not everything can be about rugby all the time, so it is important I had those two things to look forward to in the off-season.”

Boyle is one of just four players in Murphy’s 31-man squad to have also featured in last year’s U20 Six Nations, featuring off the bench three time and starting in the round two win over Wales.

It provided a valuable learning experience ahead of the prop’s second campaign at this level, which has seen him step up to a starting role. Boyle played a prominent role in the opening round win over Wales and keeps his place in the team for tonight’s clash with France in Aix-en-Provence [KO 8pm, Virgin Media Two].

jack-boyle-celebrates-at-the-full-time-whistle Oisin Keniry / INPHO Boyle won a Schools Cup medal with St Michael's in 2019. Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

“Last year was a bit different with Covid, we spent the whole five or six weeks over in Cardiff, so we didn’t get a normal run at it.

“This year is the year where we get to express ourselves more and play in front of 8,000 people (in Cork last week), which is brilliant.

“It probably helps with my game and what I understand I need to do around the pitch. From a leadership point of view, I want to get my stuff right first and then hopefully bring lads along with me, if that makes sense.

“The physicality part of it is huge. We’re one of the smaller teams. That physicality piece, you have to be right there mentally pre-game, so you have to get yourself right mentally first. Then it’s just about enjoying it after that.

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“There is great exposure for all of us, so we need to realise that at the same time and not take it too seriously.” 

France U20s: Max Auriac (Stade Toulousain); Jefferson Joseph (SU Agen), Emilien Gailleton (SU Agen), Louis Le Brun (Castres Olympique), Enzo Reybier (US Oyonnax); Louis Foursans-Bourdette (Montpellier Hérault Rugby), Baptiste Jauneau (ASM Clermont Auvergne); Matis Perchaud (Aviron Bayonnais), Victor Montgaillard (USA Perpignan), Robin Bellemand (US Colomiers); Samuel M’foudi (USA Perpignan), Matthieu Uhila (Montpellier Hérault Rugby); Leo Banos (Stade Mantois), Noe Della Schiava (La Rochelle), Malohi Suta (Provence Rugby).

ReplacementsLucas Martin (Provence Rugby), Louis Keziah Penverne (La Rochelle), Valentin Simutoga (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Raphael Portat (Stade Toulousain), Joseph Exshaw (Union Bordeaux Begles), Jules Coulon (RC Toulon), Aubin Eymeri (Montpellier Hérault Rugby) Ethan Randle (USA Perpignan).

Ireland U20s: Patrick Campbell (Young Munster RFC/Munster); Aitzol King (Clontarf FC/Leinster), Ben Brownlee (UCD RFC/Leinster), Daniel Hawkshaw (Clontarf FC/Leinster), Shane Mallon (UCD RFC/Leinster); Charlie Tector (Lansdowne FC/Leinster), Ethan Coughlan (Shannon RFC/Munster); Jack Boyle (UCD RFC/Leinster), James McCormick (Ballymena RFC/Ulster), Rory McGuire (UCD RFC/Leinster); Conor O’Tighearnaigh (UCD RFC/Leinster), Mark Morrissey (UCD RFC/Leinster); James McNabney (Ballymena RFC/Ulster), Reuben Crothers (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster) (captain), James Culhane (UCD RFC/Leinster).

Replacements: Josh Hanlon (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster), Oisin Michel (Lansdowne FC/Leinster), Darragh McSweeney (Shannon RFC/Munster), Adam McNamee (Malone RFC/Ulster), Conor Moloney (Young Munster RFC/Munster), Matthew Devine (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht), Tony Butler (Garryowen FC/Munster), Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC/Leinster).

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