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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 28 May, 2020

Louth man named in Australia U20 squad ahead of World Cup meeting with Ireland

Michael McDonald has been included in the Junior Wallabies squad for the Oceania Championships.

Louth native Michael McDonald.
Louth native Michael McDonald.
Image: Rugby WA

LOUTH NATIVE MICHAEL McDonald has been named in the Junior Wallabies squad for this month’s U20 Oceania Championships on the Gold Coast.

The Western Australia scrum-half made the 32-man panel, having originally been included in coach Jason Gilmore’s pre-World Cup training squad of 48, for the clashes with holders New Zealand, Japan and Fiji.

It means the former Dundalk RFC player could be in line to face Ireland in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina in June, with the Aussies also down to play England and Italy in the competition’s group phase.

The 19-year-old first earned national recognition after a breakthrough 2017 campaign in which he helped his club side, Palmyra, to the Colts Premiership title.

Gearoid McDonald Michael's brother, Gearoid, in AIL action with Lansdowne in 2014. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

McDonald moved to Australia with his parents and twin brother, Andrew, at the age of 13, having played all his rugby with Dundalk to that point.

His two older siblings, Cillian and Gearoid, have enjoyed careers at a decent level within Ireland, the latter lining out for Old Belvedere and Lansdowne in the All-Ireland League as well as helping Leinster Juniors to the Interprovincial crown last May.

Australia have named 12 contracted Super Rugby players in their squad, including  Queenslanders Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson and Jack Hardy, who is currently on the Reds’ tour of South Africa.

The Wallabies begin their quest for a first Oceania crown at this grade against Japan on 26 April before facing Fiji four days later and the All Blacks on 4 May.

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