The Ireland Under-21 team to play their English counterparts this Friday in Donnybrook has been named. Click here for more.
The Ireland Under-21 team and replacements to play against England U-21 at Donnybrook on Friday, February 25 (kick-off 4.00pm) have been named.
Mark McDermott’s side – dominated by nine Ulster representatives – shows five changes from the one which lost 16-8 to Scotland on February 11. Three of those come in the backs, with Lansdowne’s Greg Stafford replacing Kieran Geraghty of London Irish at inside centre.
There’s a double switch at half-back with Cork Constitution-UCC duo Barry Keeshan and David O’Leary coming in for injured captain Gareth Steenson and UCD’s Cillian Willis – who was red-carded in the second half against the Scots.
Up front, Dungannon pairing Ryan Caldwell and Oisin Hennessy return, with the former linking up the second row with Belfast Harlequins’ Lewis Stevenson – a try-scorer in their 56-14 AIB League Division One romp over Buccaneers last Saturday.
Northampton’s Brett McNamee – who has lined out once for the Saints this season in the Powergen Cup – will skipper Ireland for the first time.
The former Under-19 international made a try-scoring debut against Italy earlier this month.
England – coached by Jim Mallinder – has lost both their opening games to Wales (32-21) and France (20-17).
RBS UNDER-21 SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 25
Ireland Under-21 v England Under-21, Donnybrook, 4.00pm
(15) Mark Kettyle (Belfast Harlequins)
(14) Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins)
(13) Andrew Trimble (Ballymena)
(12) Greg Stafford (Lansdowne)
(11) Paul McKenzie (Belfast Harlequins)
(10) Barry Keeshan (Cork Constitution)
(9) David O’Leary (UCC)
(1) Michael Diffley (Buccaneers)
(2) Stuart Philpott (Saracens)
(3) John Andress (Belfast Harlequins)
(4) Lewis Stevenson (Belfast Harlequins)
(5) Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon)
(6) Brett McNamee (Northampton) (Captain)
(7) Oisin Hennessy (Dungannon)
(8) Stephen Ferris (Dungannon)
(16) Joseph Merrigan (Corinthians)
(17) Eamonn Bracken (Buccaneers)
(18) Mark Melbourne (Garryowen)
(19) Chris Henry (Malone)
(20) Paul Marshall (Ballynahinch)
(21) Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College)
(22) Kieran Geraghty (London Irish)
Coach: Mark McDermott
Assistant Coach: Brian Walsh
Manager: David Haslett
ENGLAND UNDER-21: O Morgan (Gloucester); T Biggs (Leeds), M Cornwell (Leicester), R Davis (Bath), T Varndell (Leicester); T Flood (Newcastle), B Foden (Sale Sharks); M Cusack (Leeds), N Briggs (Rotherham), A Croall (Saracens), R Blaze (Worcester), T Ryder (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), D Seymour (Saracens), M Hopley (Worcester).
Replacements: S Mackie (Newcastle), M Hampson (Leicester), S Cox (Sale Sharks), R Thorpe (London Irish), L Dickson (Newcastle), S Whatling (Worcester), T Ojo (London Irish).
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Ireland U-21 results so far:
Ireland U-21 33 Italy U-21 21
Scotland U-21 16 Ireland U-21 8