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Entire u20 Six Nations tournament set for June in Cardiff

Ireland's entire u20 Six Nations campaign will be played in Cardiff, after the city was confirmed...

Ireland's entire u20 Six Nations campaign will be played in Cardiff, after the city was confirmed to host next month's tournament.

With the traditional spring window postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's u20 Six Nations will now fill the space left vacant by the cancelled World Championships.

In some tweaks to the usual tournament, all games will be played at the Cardiff Arms Park in Wales, a decision which was made to reduce the risk around travel, to ensure greater rest periods and structured training and therefore meet many of the performance opportunities lost in recent times.

Match day squads will consist of 26 players due to the condensed format of the competition and all five match days will feature three matches played consecutively.

Ireland will begin by taking on Scotland on Saturday June 19th at 2pm, before an 8pm kickoff against hosts Wales six days later.

Their third game on Thursday July 1st will be against England at 8pm, before they face Italy the following Wednesday, and bringing the curtain down on their campaign on Tuesday July 13th against France at 4.45pm.

It will be a first campaign in charge for the senior team's kicking and skills coach Richie Murphy, who took over from Kieran Campbell, who held the position for just a few months following Noel McNamara's departure.

Commenting on the announcement, Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said: “We are delighted to be in a position to play the U20 Championship this year, having had to cancel it in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“The u20 Six Nations Championship is an important milestone in the life of many young players who will pursue a career in professional rugby and we would like to thank the unions for their hard work in making this Championship possible and our broadcasters for bringing it to the homes of rugby lovers. We are looking forward to some exciting rugby.”

WRU CEO Steve Phillips added: “The Welsh Rugby Union is honoured to be hosting the 2021 U20 Six Nations Championship at the historic Cardiff Arms Park.

“The U20 Six Nations Championship is a crucial pathway for the players’ development as they begin their journey into senior professional rugby. A number of players currently playing for their respective unions at the highest level have come through this programme, so it will be exciting to see the next generation of stars in action here with us in Cardiff.”

Having won the Grand Slam in 2019, and securing three wins from three prior to the cancellation of the 2020 renewal, Ireland have won their last eight games in the u20 Six Nations, as they prepare to defend their Triple Crown and Grand Slam titles.

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