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O’Donoghue Ready To Lead

27th May 2014 By Munster Rugby

With the Ireland U20s departing today for the 2014 Junior World Championship (JWC) in New Zealand, we catch up with squad captain and Munster Academy member Jack O’Donoghue.

With the Ireland U20s departing today for the 2014 Junior World Championship (JWC) in New Zealand, we catch up with squad captain and Munster Academy member Jack O’Donoghue.

With original squad captain Sean O'Brien ruled out of travelling due to ongoing treatment for an ankle injury, the UL Bohemians and Munster Academy back rower O'Donoghue will take over as captain of the side.

Pool B sees the Irishmen pitted against fellow 6 Nations participants, France and Wales, together with their Pool B opponents from last year’s JWC, Fiji.

Having played 80 minutes against France and Wales in the 2014 6 Nations, as well as starting last season’s JWC encounter with the Fijians, Jack is well versed in the challenge that lies ahead;

“Last year I played against Fiji and I know what the competition is going to be like, the short space in between games where you need to recover well. We have a tough start with our two opening games against our 6 Nations colleagues France and Wales.

“They were both tough opposition in the 6 Nations so we need to up our performances now and we have plenty to build on going into those games. We know their strengths and weaknesses and vice versa for them. The results didn’t go our way in that campaign but we know what we need to improve and change now for the World Championships.”

The fore mentioned 6 Nations campaign saw Ireland U20s suffer a 23-13 away defeat away to France, coupled with a home loss to Wales, the Welshmen men keeping the Irish scoreless, 0-16. Fiji for their part will be hoping to exact revenge on Ireland for a 46-3 defeat in last year’s JWC;

“We start with France who presented a tough challenge in March and we gave them too much in the closing stages of the game so we need to produce an 80 minute performance next week. Then we face Wales and we certainly need to restore pride against them after our defeat at home in February so we need to make sure we produce a better performance this time around. And then our final pool game is against the challenge of Fiji who I would have encountered in last year’s tournament.”

As with all competitions at any age level, the step up from the European to world stage presents a new set of opportunities and challenges;

“This competition is the next step up from the 6 Nations, you’re playing the best players in the world at this age, against northern and southern hemisphere teams, and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against them. You always want to see where you stand against players at this level and you want to be involved in a tournament like this on the world stage.

“I’ve never been to New Zealand so it should be a great experience and it’s a huge honour that I get to go down there and captain the squad.”

Jack is one of two Munster representatives named in their second JWC Squad;

“Out of the Munster contingent Alex Wootton has also been involved at this level, and we’ve filled the other lads in on what it’s going to be like. Playing a game every 4 days is going to be tough on the body and we have spoken about the challenges and shorter recovery periods."

Overall Jack is happy with the progress he is making as he moves into his 3rd year of the academy for season 14/15, and looking back over the season he said,

“I’ve had a few opportunities this year attending senior squad training sessions, and got called into some of the B&I Cup sessions also so it’s been a good year. I’ve had some great experiences with the 6 Nations and now I’m looking forward to the Junior World Championships.”

Ireland open their Pool B campaign against France on Monday, June 2nd in the QBE Stadium, Auckland. KO 5:35pm local time.

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