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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

High-achieving Dunne happy to combine theoretical physics and rugby

The second row received a scholarship from Trinity College and is one of 36 students in the country to be part of the prestigious Naughton Foundation.

AS JACK DUNNE patiently waits in the lobby of the Ireland U20s team hotel for his turn in the media hot seat, he is meticulously studying notes scribbled in a small A5 notebook. No time is lost.

Jack Dunne Dunne pictured at the team hotel earlier this week. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The second row is in rugby mode, looking back on the main points of that afternoon’s team meeting and his work-ons from training, but any spare minutes he has away from duty is spent catching up on college work.

Dunne is currently juggling theoretical physics in Trinity with Ireland’s Six Nations campaign and despite his high intellect, the nature of the course means he can’t afford to put academic work to one side during the championship.

“It’s definitely challenging,” he says. “You have to put in a lot of work but you can keep up with it, if you try hard.

“It is quite a heavy workload. Most days once I’m done with rugby, I’m straight into the books.”

The former St Michael’s College student achieved 625 points in his Leaving Certificate last June and not only received a rugby scholarship from Trinity but is one of 36 students in the country to be part of the prestigious Naughton Foundation.

And he’s not the only high-achiever in the Ireland U20s squad, with second row partner and fellow Leinster sub-academy member Cormac Daly studying astrophysics in UCD.

For now, however, rugby takes priority for Dunne.

“I would love to go into physics, if the rugby doesn’t work out,” he continues. “I just find it really interesting so I don’t mind doing it.

“But you can only do the rugby once. The mind will be there forever. The main focus when you’re young is to go with the rugby. Physics will be there forever.”

Jack Dunne Dunne has started all three of Ireland's Six Nations games so far. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Talented off the pitch, Dunne is excelling on it during the Six Nations and is set to start his fourth game in Friday’s clash with Donnybrook [KO 7.15pm, RTÉ2].

The 6ft 7in lock is a natural athlete and has already showed his dynamism around the field during the opening three rounds, with this taste of international rugby motivating Dunne further to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Luke McGrath, James Ryan, Rory O’Loughlin and Dan Leavy.

“It’s really incredible,” the 19-year-old says.

“It’s just so professional in everything that we do. Everything is at the top of its game. It’s just really, really good. Everything is at such a high level. It’s lovely to pull on the green jersey. There is just so much energy about it.

“As a second row the lineout is your main job but I would like to add a bit more to my game around the field. I’m almost there with the lineout. There is obviously still a good bit to go and I would to add a bit to my game around the park, just with my carrying, tackling and defence.”

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Ryan Bailey

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