Ireland U20s Team named for World Cup opener

22 June 2023

Ireland U20s Team named for World Cup opener

Head Coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland U20s Match Day Squad, sponsored by PwC, for Saturday’s opening World Rugby U20 Championship game against England in Paarl, South Africa (Kick-off 1.30pm local time/12.30pm Irish time).

Three Connacht player's have made the squad, Hugh Gavin, John Devine and Fiachna Barrett.

The squad arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday and have spent the week preparing for their Pool B opener, as the World Rugby U20 Championship returns for the first time since 2019.

Gus McCarthy once again captains Ireland having led the team to U20 Six Nations Grand Slam glory earlier in the season.

Henry McErlean, Andrew Osborne and Hugh Gavin are named in the Ireland back three, with Hugh Cooney and John Devine in midfield. Sam Prendergast and Fintan Gunne continue their strong half-back pairing from the Six Nations.

Up front, George Hadden and Paddy McCarthy partner McCarthy in the front row, with Evan O’Connell and Conor O’Tighearnaighselected in the second row. Diarmuid Mangan is named at blindside flanker, with Ruadhan Quinn at openside and James McNabney completing the starting XV at number eight.

Hooker Max Clein is in line for his U20s debut off the bench, with George Morris, Fiachna Barrett, Charlie Irvine, Brian Gleeson, Oscar Cawley, Matty Lynch and James Nicholson providing the replacement options.

Speaking ahead of Saturday, Murphy said: “We have been working hard in preparation for this opening challenge, both at home in Dublin and here in South Africa, and the group are excited about the opportunity ahead. We know England first up will be a huge challenge having faced them in the last round of the Six Nations back in March and we will need to be at our very best to achieve the result we want to kickstart our tournament.”

Saturday’s match is live on Virgin Media Two in Republic of Ireland and on World Rugby platforms where there is no local broadcaster.

Ireland U20s:

15. Henry McErlean (Terenure/Leinster)
14. Andrew Osborne (Naas/Leinster)
13. Hugh Cooney (Clontarf/Leinster)
12. John Devine (Corinthians/Connacht)
11. Hugh Gavin (Galwegians/Connacht)
10. Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Fintan Gunne (Terenure/Leinster)

1. George Hadden (Clontarf/Leinster)
2. Gus McCarthy (UCD/Leinster)(captain)
3. Paddy McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
4. Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
5. Conor O’Tighearnaigh (UCD/Leinster)
6. Diarmuid Mangan (UCD/Leinster)
7. Ruadhan Quinn (Old Crescent/Munster)
8. James McNabney (Ballymena/Ulster)


16. Max Clein (Garryowen/Munster)*
17. George Morris (Lansdowne/Leinster)
18. Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians/Connacht)
19. Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University/Ulster)
20. Brian Gleeson (Garryowen/Munster)
21. Oscar Cawley (Naas/Leinster)
22. Matty Lynch (Dublin University/Leinster)
23. James Nicholson (UCD/Leinster).

*Denotes uncapped at U20s level.