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Under-21 Side Confirmed For Cup Opener

Under-21 Side Confirmed For Cup Opener

The management team have confirmed the Ireland XV and replacements for today’s IRB Under-21 World Cup opener against France in Mendoza, Argentina (kick-off 7.00pm).

The management team have confirmed the Ireland XV and replacements for today’s IRB Under-21 World Cup opener against France in Mendoza, Argentina (kick-off 7.00pm).

IRB Under-21 World Cup: Pool Stages: Thursday, June 9
Ireland U-21 v France U-21, Chacras RC, Mendoza, 7.00pm Irish time

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Ireland coach Mark McDermott, who has just two players – captain and fly-half Gareth Steenson and wing Paul McKenzie – returning from last year’s tournament, in which the Irish lost the final 47-19 to 2003 champions New Zealand, knows his side will have to cut down on errors to beat the French.

Indeed, McKenzie (try) and Steenson (conversion, 2 penalties) were Ireland’s only scorers when they last met the Baby Bleus in March. Steenson slotted his two penalties for a 6-0 half-time lead.

“We have a young side. Nine of the squad are available for next season at this age level, but we’re hopeful of making a good start,” said McDermott.

“We lost our way against France in this year’s Six Nations, having opened up well against. They won 20-13 down in Limerick, yet we dominated for much of the game. A poor 20 minutes in the second half just cost us in the end.

“We will be taking it one game at a time over the next few days. With so many of the players making their first World Cup appearances, it will be interesting to see how they go from the off,” he added.

Team manager David Haslett rated March’s outing against the French as Ireland’s “best performance of the year” and something similar will be needed at Chacras Rugby Club if they are to make a winning start.

With UCD scrum-half Cillian Willis back from suspension, McDermott has selected just six of March’s starters against the French, including the midfield tandem of Andrew Trimble and Greg Stafford, in his XV today.


(15) Ross McCarron (UCD)
(14) Paul Hurley (UCC)
(13) Andrew Trimble (Ballymena)
(12) Greg Stafford (Lansdowne)
(11) Paul McKenzie (Belfast Harlequins)
(10) Gareth Steenson (Dungannon) (Capt)
(9) Cillian Willis (UCD)
(1) Gary Maxwell (Dungannon)
(2) Stuart Philpott (Saracens)
(3) John Andress (Belfast Harlequins)
(4) Mark Melbourne (Garryowen)
(5) Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon)
(6) Kevin McLaughlin (UCD)
(7) Chris Henry (Malone)
(8) Stephen Ferris (Dungannon)


(16) Joseph Merrigan (Corinthians)
(17) Ronan Loughney (Galwegians)
(18) Ross Noonan (UCC)
(19) Trevor Richardson (Buccaneers)
(20) Gerry Hurley (Garryowen)
(21) Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College)
(22) Daniel Riordan (Corinthians)

Coach: Mark McDermott
Assistant Coach: Niall Malone
Manager: David Haslett

France U-21: Jean-Baptiste Peyras (Section Paloise); Florian Denos (Toulouse), Vincent Roux (AS Clermont Auvergne), Sylvain Mirande (SU Agen), Maxime Medard (Toulouse); Rigis Lespinas (CA Brive), Fabien Cibray (Section Paloise) (Capt); Pierre Lafond (US Montauban), Virgile Lacombe (Toulouse), Yohan Montes (Stade Frangais), Damien Fevre (SU Agen), Looc Jacquet (AS Clermont Auvergne), Marc Baget Rabarou (Biarritz Olympique), Fabien Alexandre (FC Grenoble), Damien Chouly (CA Brive).

Replacements: Fridiric Montagnat (CS Bourgoin-Jallieu), Alexandre Bastin (AS Clermont Auvergne), Aurilien Diotallevi (CS Bourgoin-Jallieu), Girald Gambetta (Lyon OU), Julien Tomas (RC Montpellier), Thibault Lacroix (Biarritz Olympique), Matthieu Bourret (USA Perpignan).

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Ireland U-21 Squad, World Cup Fixtures