Four compelling reasons to cheer on Ireland's U20 giantkillers this weekend
We witnessed a stirring comeback at Kingston Park. In advance of the Electric Ireland Under 20s Six Nations match against Italy which takes place this Friday, 11th March in Donnybrook, we look at the players we'll be watching out for.
Nigel Carolan's men could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel against an imposing England team.
In their opening championship fixtures, they had started well only to fade in the second 40. After 43 minutes against England, they trailed 20-6. They were surely beaten.
Try telling that to James Ryan, their captain, and his team.
His try was the catalyst for a stunning comeback. By the time the final whistle had rang out, Ireland were 26-20 winners.
On Friday, at 7:35pm, winless Italy pay a visit to Donnybrook. There are some great reasons to get along to cheer on the young Wolfpuppies.
Witness a future Irish captain in action
James Ryan has been a force of nature for the Under 20s.
He was excellent against Wales, superb in France and jaw-droppingly fantastic against England.
The former St Michael's College captain has bounded up a level and looks completely at home. His contributions in attack are almost as telling as in defence. Three tries in three games and at least three try-saving tackles down the other end.
Currently in the Leinster sub-Academy, Ryan will be playing senior rugby by 2017 if he continues to work hard and steer clear of injuries. Possibly even sooner.
An outside centre Munster fans will be watching keenly
While Leinster fans track Ryan's progress, the Munster contingent will be following the exploits of Shane Daly.
The Cork Con centre has been impressive in his three outings thus far and has been entrusted with the 13 jersey again by Carolan.
Possesses quick feet and the ability to step his man in close quarters. Has shown up well on the wings, in a support role, and fronted up when called upon in defence.
Italy are prime for a hiding
The Italians have suffered three defeats so far and are flagging.
They have a points difference of -82 and have conceded 16 tries in three games.
France and England put them to the sword but they held Scotland in a tighter clinch until falling to a 24-14 loss.
Gabriele Venditti and Luca Sperandio look decent prospects but there is not enough graft up from or danger out the back for Ireland to fret too much. Unencumbered by that win over England, Ireland should target this game with some ambition to cut loose.
The Connacht native likes his team to play an admirable brand of attacking rugby. Looking ahead to Friday's match, he said:
"We knew that this group of players were very capable of playing winning rugby, but errors had cost us in previous games. While it was satisfying to get the victory away to England over in Newcastle, the important thing now is that we park that win and continue to build and develop as a team."
"If we replicate our last performance," he continued, "I am confident that we can come away with a successful outcome."