The Ireland U20 team (sponsored by PwC) to play Italy U20 in Donnybrook this Friday 11th March has been confirmed.

Head Coach Nigel Carolan has named the same starting pack that were victorious against England in Newcastle last time out, but there are some changes in the backline due to a couple of injuries.

Brett Connon will make his first start of the U20 Six Nations Championship as he moves from the replacements to take up the fullback position which has been vacated by the injured Jack Power (hamstring). Conor O’Brien moves from the left wing to replace the injured Jimmy O’Brien (stress fracture) at inside centre. Jacob Stockdale, who has been involved with Ulster in the Guinness Pro12 so far this season, will win his seventh U20 cap as he makes his first appearance in this campaign.

In the replacements, Hugo Kean (St. Mary’s), Ben Betts (Young Munster) and Paul Kiernan (UCC) will be hoping to win their first Ireland U20 caps on Friday. They are joined in the substitutes by James Bollard, Sean O’Connor, Max Deegan (who has returned from injury), John Poland and Terry Kennedy.

The side will again be led by Leinster and Lansdowne lock James Ryan – who has scored three tries in as many games.

Speaking ahead of the game, Carolan said;

“We knew that this group of players were very capable of playing winning rugby, but errors had cost us in previous games. While it was satisfying to get the victory away to England over in Newcastle, the important thing now is that we park that win and continue to build and develop as a team.

There are a couple of enforced changes to the backs and some new faces amongst the substitutes so it changes things up a bit as we come to the latter stages of the competition.

Italy travel to Donnybrook having made England and Scotland work very hard to secure their wins, so I’ve no doubt they’ll be looking to push us hard on Friday night. If we replicate our last peformance, I am confident that we can come away with a successful outcome.”

The match, which is sponsored by Electric Ireland kicks off at 7.35pm.

The game will be broadcast live on RTE 2 from 7.30pm.

Ireland U20 v Italy U20.
Donnybrook Stadium, Friday 11th March, 7.35pm.

15. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
14. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
13. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
12. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queens University / Ulster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)
1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Conán O’Donnell (Sligo / Connacht)
4. Peter Claffey (Galwegians / Connacht)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Captain
6. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
7. Will Connors (UCD / Leinster)
8. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)

Replacements
16. Hugo Kean (St. Mary’s / Leinster)*
17. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
18. Ben Betts (Munster / Young Munster)*
19. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
20. Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster)
21. John Poland (Cork Con / Munster)
22. Paul Kiernan (UCC / Munster)*
23. Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s / Leinster)

*Denotes Uncapped at this level

Not Considered
Conor Kenny (Buccaneers / Connacht) – injured
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster) – injured
Jack Power (UCD / Leinster) – injured
Dan Walsh (Cork Con / Munster) – injured

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