The NE Free Jacks play host this spring to all 4 provinces development teams who will compete in the inaugural Cara Cup. The newly announced tournament sees New England’s first ever professional team compete against the 4 Irish provinces development squads with the provinces also competing against each other.
This is a great opportunity to see the brightest up and coming talent in Ireland. The ‘A Teams’ are generally seen in Ireland as an opportunity to give young players in the respective academies vital game time at a high level and can also be an opportunity for established players to get minutes under their belt after a injury or a period out of the game, so there is always plenty of opportunity to see some top quality talent on display.
Due to the nature of how the ‘A teams’ operate it can be difficult to predict the squads that the respective provinces will bring over to Boston for this series but here is a look at some of the brightest established players.
Leinster are the current champions of the Celtic Cup having beaten Welsh side Scarlets A in the final. Much like Leinster’s senior side, there is a wealth of young talent and a seemingly conveyer belt of players coming through the system. Below is an overview of the teams fixtures along with players to watch out for.
NE Free Jacks
Tadhg Leader – Fullback. Leader will face his old side having come through the Connacht academy before moving to the US. Leader who recently made his debut for the US Eagles in a convincing win also managed to score a try on his debut.
Ronan Kelleher – Hooker. Kelleher is the younger brother of Connacht soon to be Leinster again winger Cian Kelleher. Kelleher scored a brace of tries for Leinster A in their Celtic Cup final win over Scarlets A last October.
Bill Johnston – Fly half. Johnston joined the Munster academy at aged 18 and made his Munster A debut that same year in the British and Irish Cup against London Scottish.
Kieran Joyce – Center. Joyce has featured in Andy Friend’s senior Connacht side this season as he was handed his European Challenge Cup debut in Connacht’s win over Perpignan last December.
Robert Baloucoune – Wing. Baloucoune who was called into the Irish Men’s seven’s squad for the World Cup in San Francisco last May has also impressed head Ulster Coach Dan McFarland as he was called into the Ulster senior side to face Welsh side the Dragons for his debut back in October last year.
|Fixture||Date / Time||Location|
|Free Jacks v Connacht A||Mar.16 – 3pm||Union Point Sports Complex|
|Connacht A v Ulster A||Mar.20 – 7pm||Union Point Sports Complex|
|Free Jacks v Ulster A||Mar.24 – 6.30pm||Union Point Sports Complex|
|Free Jacks v Munster A||Apr.6 – 4pm||Irish Cultural Centre|
|Munster A v Leinster A||Apr.10 – 7pm||Union Point Sports Complex|
|Free Jacks v Leinster A||Apr.14 – 5pm||Harvard Mignone Field|