George McGuigan is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Newcastle Falcons teammate Scott Wilson when he pulls on the green of Ireland to face England in the Under-20s RBS 6 Nations Championship this Friday.
McGuigan, 19, who hails from Northallerton and qualifies for Ireland via his parents, started last weekend’s narrow 17-15 defeat at Wales in the opening match of the campaign.
Following in the footsteps of former Falcons Academy graduate Rory Best, the abrasive young hooker is now licking his lips at the thought of England’s visit to Dubarry Park, Athlone when a certain Mr Wilson could come up against him.
“I can’t wait to get back out there and it will be interesting to play against Scott as he is a very good player, who scrummages well,” said McGuigan, who plays alongside Wilson at Tynedale where the pair are placed on dual registration agreements.
It was obviously disappointing to lose by the narrowest of margins in Wales, but the England game gives us a real chance to bounce back
Admitting it was a proud evening for his family to see him represent the Emerald Isle, McGuigan said: “My family were at the game and were obviously pleased for me, and I’m now looking forward to getting back into it on Friday.”
Academy manager Mark Laycock paid tribute to the hard work that preceded his selection for Ireland under-20s saying: “George has come through the entire academy process and has had to learn the hard way for most of it.
“Starting with the School of Rugby programme in Durham at 15, he then attended our AASE Scheme at Gosforth Academy for 6th Form and came into a Senior Academy contract at 18 where he has had to work extremely hard to earn his stripes.”
Currently completing a degree at Northumbria University, Laycock added: “George has really matured as a player over the past six months and the exposure he is currently getting is great for his all-round development.
“If both players are selected on Friday night it will be a mouthwatering occasion for Micky Ward our scrum coach to see the lads go head to head quite literally.”