IRELAND CENTRE SHANE Daly, who pounced to score their fourth try in the 37-7 semi-final win over Argentina, said it is a huge boost ahead of their World Rugby U20 Championship final showdown with England that they have already beaten the hosts this year.
Daly [left] celebrates Ireland’s semi-final win with centre partner Conor O’Brien. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
That superb win in the Six Nations in February, when they came from 20-6 down early in the second half to win 26-20, came after they lost their opening games to Wales and France.
But that comeback win against England set Nigel Carolan’s men on a victory spree and was the start of a seven-match winning run which has taken them to Saturday’s final against the two-time winners [KO 7pm, TG4].
“We have played against England already. We know how good they are, they are a really good team. They are much changed since the Six Nations. We narrowly beat them in the Six Nations.
“They are a very physical team but if we meet them up front and get off the line, like we have been doing in previous games we should be a good match,” said the former Pres boy who is now studying Finance in UCC.
Daly said that they will take hope from that win in Kingston Park as they prepare for their first-ever final at this grade.
“It is a confidence booster going into it considering we have beaten them in Newcastle this year. They will obviously have a bigger turnout than we will have at AJ Bell Stadium but hopefully the crowd will get behind us on Saturday.
“We weren’t rated very highly coming into this competition. So to get the results that we have has been great,” said the Cork Con man, who is overage only by 13 days for next year’s competition.
Daly scores a try for Cork Con. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
His dad Bill is a huge rugby fan and mum Cora, older brother James (21) and younger brother Darragh (10) have been following his progress and a big contingent of family and friends from Douglas will be heading over to the final.
But rugby wasn’t Shane’s first call and while he played Gaelic football, it was at soccer that he made most progress.
“I didn’t really play rugby much. I played a bit when I went to Pres. I played a bit with Highfield before I went to school, but I was all about soccer.
“I was very successful with College Corinthians in Cork. That was my main focus the whole way up. But when I got to 16 I got a bit bigger and I said I would give rugby a go. It wasn’t until fourth year when I got into it.”
So, who were the coaches who guided him towards becoming an Irish U20 international? Daly has shone in this tournament and is heading into the Munster academy this summer after a year in the sub-academy.
“Probably the one, Paul Barr was the guy I had in Leaving Cert,” said Daly of the coach who has influenced him most. “He coaches me at Con as well at the moment. He coached me for sixth year as well and gave me a bit of a love for the game especially the way we play rugby.
“We didn’t win either year at senior. We had two very strong teams but we didn’t win either time.”
Daly will be hoping to make more history in front of his family on Saturday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
The sole focus now is on England on Saturday and the desire to finish an excellent tournament with silverware.
“That would be brilliant. They are a lot stronger since the Six Nations, but people might say the same about us. Even if our players might not have changed as much, our whole style has changed and it has suited us,” he added.
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