Shiel out to gauge Gael Force talent

STAND-IN coach Graham Shiel is looking forward to seeing how a number of up-and-coming players perform as Gael Force go looking for their first British & Irish Cup victory when they take on Newport tonight.

The squad head into the away fixture at Rodney Parade bottom of Pool A after defeats to the Cornish Pirates and Exeter back in November, but with a number of players in the party looking to put in a good performance for various reasons they will be confident of registering a win. For the likes of National Academy members Michael Doneghan, Tom Bury, Alex Spence and Lewis Niven they will be keen to show that they can cut it alongside the pro players and Shiel – taking charge in the absence of Stephen Gemmell who is with the Scotland Sevens squad in Las Vegas – is excited by the prospect.

"It is a great opportunity for these young guys and it will be interesting to see how they get on in a team made up of mainly professionals. This kind of match will help their development and show them what level they need to be reaching every time," he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Highly-thought-of prop Niven is bound to learn a thing or two packing down alongside Glasgow Warriors' international duo Kevin Tkachuk and Fergus Thomson and he will be keen to get 80 minutes under his belt after a frustrating season due to injuries. A number of the full-time pros will want to give themselves a chance of playing for their respective sides when the Magners League returns next week and Shiel added: "For some fringe players this is also a good game for them to have. I would expect it to be a tough test, but we have a good squad available and we are all looking forward to it."

Gael Force: P Horne (Glasgow Warriors); M Doneghan (National Academy and Stewarts Melville), H O'Hare (Glasgow Warriors), R Dewey (Glasgow Warriors), T Bury (National Academy and Boroughmuir), C Gregor (Glasgow Warriors), M McMillan (Glasgow Warriors), K Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors), F Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), L Niven (National Academy and Edinburgh Academicals), S Turnbull (Edinburgh Rugby), D Turner (Glasgow Warriors), F McKenzie (Edinburgh Rugby), J Eddie (Glasgow Warriors), A Spence (National Academy and Haddington). Subs: R Grant (Edinburgh Rugby), D Young (Edinburgh Rugby), T Barker (Glasgow Warriors), N Patrick (National Academy and Boroughmuir), R Sutherland (Stewart's Melville), R Samson (Edinburgh Rugby) S Atkin (National Academy and Edinburgh Academicals).

Related topics: