David Hennessy chats to Ealing-born Cian Romaine of Connacht who has been named in Nigel Carolan’s U20 World Cup squad and nominated for Connacht Academy Player of the Year
19-year-old Cian Romaine, who represented Ireland at Under 20 level in the recent Six Nations campaign, will travel as part of the Irish squad for the Under 20 World Cup in Italy in June. Lock Cian impressed in his first international games that included scoring a try in an emphatic win over Italy.
“I was pretty happy,” a modest Cian tells The Irish World. “It’s tough. Last year a lot of the people who went to the Six Nations didn’t actually make it to the World Cup so it’s not just because you’ve made the Six Nations, you’re guaranteed a spot in the World Cup squad so I was just pretty happy I was able to make it.
“It’s tough. You have to keep working hard. Any Under 19s that impress come up and have a trial with us and try to get a spot for the World Cup so there’s even more competition coming into it.”
Ireland will have a tough task as they must face the Baby Blacks and the Pumas early on the campaign: “We’ve got a very tough group. Obviously we lost to Scotland in the Six Nations so we’ll be out for a bit of blood going into it.
“We’ve got a warm up game against France coming up which will be a good test for us going into the World Cup. We’ve a few training camps before that so hopefully we can get our stuff together and get what we need done so we can go into the World Cup in top form and hopefully do better than last year.”
Ireland came fourth in last year’s competition, losing their semi-final to England and their third place play-off to New Zealand.
“I think there’s seven of the New Zealand team who have played Super 15 so there will be a lot of experience in that team so they will be a tough team to beat.”
Cian has also been honoured with two nominations for Connacht Rugby Club annual awards on May 16 where he is nominated for both Academy Player of the Year and Under 20s Player of the Year: “I got a couple of nominations for that so I was quite happy. There are four lads in the academy who have played senior rugby this year so I was a bit surprised to get it.
“I’m kind of pleased to see the hard work is being noticed and paying off. Hopefully I’ll just keep it up and go on to better things.”
The Buccaneers club man’s goals remain to earn his first cap with Connacht: “I’ve been training with the seniors recently so I’m hoping to just make my mark in training leading into next season, make sure I know everything, show them I want to be there. They said to me, it’s up to me whether I make it or not so I just need to put in the hard work and show them that I’m ready and hopefully I’ll get my chance.
“In my first season here, we trained with the seniors every week. That was really daunting because I was very new into the system, very new into the professional environment so it was a bit overwhelming for me but this season’s been a lot easier for me, it’s really helped my development so now when I’m with the seniors, it’s not as daunting and I can actually focus on what they teach us rather than being nervous about messing up or anything.”
The Ireland U-20s begin their campaign with a game against Argentina in Parma on June 2 (3.30pm UK time). They follow that up with a clash against Scotland in Calvisano on June 6 (3.30pm UK time). On June 10, they take on the Baby Blacks in Viadana (7.30pm UK time).
The play-offs and semi-finals are set for June 15, with the final taking place on June 20.