Jack O’Donoghue’s got a nose for the try line
The third year of the 5 Up Series followed five players in four provinces. In the second year of the series we concentrated on midfielders for reasons outlined at the time. In this year there was a preponderance of back row players, or back five if you’d rather categorise Sean O’Brien as a second row as we did.
At the beginning of each series the players are bound together by age-grade representative rugby for the national team. Those ties are temporary and, while not exactly going their separate ways, there is a greater diversity of experience in the subsequent seasons.
Robbie Henshaw took to international rugby pretty quickly and earned a Championship medal in his first full season.
We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs, who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving closer to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years. Continue reading