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20-year-old Louth native Michael McDonald makes Super Rugby debut

The 20-year-old scrum-half was a key player for the Australia U20s last year.

LOUTH NATIVE MICHAEL McDonald made his Super Rugby debut off the bench for the Waratahs as they suffered a 51-14 defeat at home to Warren Gatland’s Chiefs.

Now coached by former Munster boss Rob Penney, the Waratahs have had a very tough start to the 2020 Super Rugby season and recorded their fourth loss in five games so far against the rampant Chiefs, who have won four from five under Gatland.

However, it was a memorable occasion for 20-year-old scrum-half McDonald, who came on for the Waratahs in the 69th minute.

MM McDonald got 12 minutes off the bench.

Hailing from Carlingford, McDonald moved to Australia with his parents at the age of 13 and has developed into an exciting prospect within the Aussie rugby pathway.

He was a key player for the Australia U20s last year, helping them to a 45-17 win against his native Ireland during the World Rugby Championship in Argentina before the young Aussies were narrowly beaten by France in the final.

Having grown up in Perth, McDonald also played for the Western Force in Global Rapid Rugby last year but joined the Waratahs in Sydney ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby campaign.

Having played for the New South Wales franchise in pre-season, McDonald now has his first Super Rugby cap and will hope to gain more experience in the weeks and months to come.

The Cooley Peninsula man’s father, Andrew, won a Provincial Towns Cup medal with Dundalk RFC in the late 1980s and his older brothers, Gearóid and Cillian, have played All-Ireland League rugby.

Having started playing with Dundalk RFC, McDonald – who has a twin brother, Andrew –  is now a rising star in Australian rugby.

While McDonald has played for the Australia U20s, a change to World Rugby regulations at the start of 2018 means that national U20 team can no longer be used to ‘capture’ players’ nationality.

Therefore, the scrum-half could still represent Ireland at senior Test level.

Source: SUPER RUGBY/YouTube

While McDonald got precious experience against the Chiefs, it was Warren Gatland’s men who stole the show with an exciting performance in which they scored seven tries and completely dominated the second half after trailing 14-13 at the break.

A stunning behind-the-back pass from right wing Shaun Stevenson to set up scrum-half Brad Weber’s second try was the highlight.

Gatland’s return to New Zealand rugby has certainly been a happy one so far.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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