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Leinster wing Larmour among the standouts in Ireland U20s win

Tommy O’Brien and Caelan Doris also showed their great promise.
Feb 25th 2017, 10:15 AM 8,398 18

A 27-22 VICTORY over France means Nigel Carolan’s Ireland U20s have won all three of their games in the Six Nations so far.

Here, we look at three of the standout performers during last night’s success at Donnybrook.

Jordan Larmour

Larmour came out of St. Andrew’s College with a fine reputation, having also represented Ireland and Leinster at Schools level, and continues to underline how exciting a prospect he is.

Jordan Larmour and Florian Verhaeghe Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The St. Mary’s man was superb throughout last night’s win over the French, with his acceleration, footwork, balance and power in contact making him a constant threat with ball in hand.

Not content simply to wait for the ball to arrive to him out wide, Larmour sometimes roamed infield to link with returning out-half Bill Johnston. That points to the intelligence Larmour has to go along with his clear athletic prowess.

As Bernard Jackman, working as an analyst with RTÉ last night, noted, it was the sweeping kick from Larmour to touch late in the game that impressed most, lifting pressure from his team when other wings might have backed themselves to break again.

Leinster clearly have yet another outstanding back three prospect on their hands in the shape of Larmour.

Caelan Doris

A team-mate of Larmour’s at St. Mary’s, number eight Doris is this Ireland U20 team’s primary ball carrier, and why wouldn’t he be?

Caelan Doris and Mickael Capelli Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Eligible at this level again next year, it’s frightening to think how effective he could be in 2018. Already, he is cleverly using his power in the carry, identifying chinks of space even in the heaviest of traffic and stepping or spinning into contact, rather than simply trucking the ball up.

Already a leader in this team despite his youth, Blackrock College alumnus Doris appears to be tireless in his hunger for possession, which Carolan’s side are only too happy to feed him.

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Far from being a one-trick pony, however, Doris’ all-round back row game is impressive, with big contributions in defence and at set-piece time. As he continues to learn, the Leinster man looks like a very promising player.

Tommy O’Brien

Another man who will be underage for the U20s new year, O’Brien made his first start of the Six Nations at outside centre but found himself relocated to the left wing inside the opening 10 minutes, as captain Calvin Nash departed with a head injury.

Tommy O’Brien celebrates Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Brien didn’t appear put out by the move in the slightest, delivering a performance that earned him the man-of-the-match award.

The highlight was a brilliant first-half try, as the UCD back took a short pass from Doris on a simple, clever scrum starter play, taking advantage of the space that was created in behind the French by grubbering ahead and gathering in his own kick to score.

There was one brief moment of hesitancy underneath a French kick, when he allowed the ball to bounce into touch, but later in the game O’Brien was saving a try with a sensational cover tackle on France wing William Iraguha down the right-hand touchline.

O’Brien has played in several backline positions during his young career, impressing with Blackrock College in schools rugby, but wherever he ends up long-term, his future is exciting.

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