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Under-21 Team To Face Georgia

Under-21 Team To Face Georgia

Coach Mark McDermott and his management team have made nine changes to the Ireland Under-21 side for Saturday’s IRB U-21 World Championship clash with Georgia.

…Teenage centre Darren Cave will make his first start of the IRB U-21 World Championship on Saturday…

Coach Mark McDermott and his management team have made nine changes to the Ireland Under-21 side for Saturday’s IRB U-21 World Championship clash with Georgia.

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A tiring schedule of two games played over five days in heavy heat has meant McDermott has chopped and changed for Ireland’s final pool stage fixture of the tournament in France. The Irish are currently ranked ninth of the 12 nations, but a win over the Georgians, with a bonus point, could see them gain entry to the 5th-8th place range for the final week’s play-offs.

That seems increasingly possible with Georgia bottom of the table having lost to Wales and South Africa, and conceded a whopping 175 points in the process. Reigning champions South Africa put 102 points on the eastern European outfit on Tuesday evening.

Ireland, for their part, will be hoping to bounce back after losing a tight game to Argentina (26-22) which they could and should have won.

The Irish changes in the backs see Belfast Harlequins starlet Darren Cave, who is the youngest member of the travelling squad – he turned 19 in April, replace Tom Gleeson at outside centre and Jonathan Sexton of St. Mary’s College and UCC’s Duncan Williams come in for Kieran Hallett and the injured Paul Marshall (hand) at half-back. Marshall has flown home with Dublin University’s Matthew D’Arcy called up and presently in camp in Auvergne.

There are six alterations up front from the Argentine game. In the front row, the trio of Darragh Hurley, Sean Cronin and Dave Ryan have made way for Michael Diffley of Buccaneers, Belfast Harlequins hooker Stuart Philpott – the team captain – and Paul Doran Jones of Dublin University.

Gloucester’s Daniel Tuohy is preferred to Devin Toner in the second row, and UCC duo Michael Essex and Billy Holland come in for David Pollock and Sean O’Brien in the back row. Diarmuid Laffan switches from blindside to openside flanker. Essex replaced the injured Ross Noonan (hamstring) in the squad earlier this week.

Kick-off for Saturday’s encounter at the Stade au Complexe du Mas in Issoire is 3.00pm Irish time – IrishRugby.ie will bring you news of the result and a detailed match report on Saturday evening.

Connacht prop Diffley is eyeing up a victory to toast his 21st birthday. The Oran, County Roscommon native turns 21 on Sunday and will hopefully have an extra reason to celebrate – a try-laden win.

Team manager Niall O’Shea said: “There are a lot of changes as a lot of the guys have played two games and others are being given their opportunity. It is a vital game for us as it will decide what stage we move forward into.

“The two games of main interest to us will be Wales v Argentina and England v Scotland.”

Wales, Argentina, England and Scotland reside in the four positions above Ireland in the table, so depending on who slips up on Saturday, McDermott’s men could take advantage.

IRELAND UNDER-21 TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v Georgia U-21, Issoire, 3.00pm, Saturday, June 17):

15 – Fionn Carr (Blackrock College RFC)
14 – Ian Hanly (UL Bohemians)
13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins)
12 – Fergus McFadden (UCD)
11 – Matthew Williams (Bristol)
10 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College)
9 – Duncan Williams (UCC)
1 – Michael Diffley (Buccaneers)
2 – Stuart Philpott (Belfast Harlequins) (captain)
3 – Paul Doran Jones (Dublin University)
4 – Daniel Tuohy (Hartpury College/Gloucester)
5 – David McGowan (Buccaneers)
6 – Michael Essex (UCC)
7 – Diarmuid Laffan (Blackrock College RFC)
8 – Billy Holland (UCC)


16 – Sean Cronin (Shannon)
17 – Dave Ryan (Highfield)
18 – Devin Toner (Lansdowne)
19 – David Pollock (Queen’s University)
20 – Matthew D’Arcy (Dublin University)
21 – Conan Doyle (Garryowen)
22 – Tom Gleeson (Cork Constitution)


Coach – Mark McDermott
Manager – Niall O’Shea
Asst. Coach – Nigel Carolan
Doctor – Eanna Falvey
Physio – Tara O’Meara
Masseur – Regina O’Flanagan
Fitness Advisor – Steve Richards
HPU Analyst – Kurt McQuilkin
Baggage Master – Jack Kiely


Friday, June 9:

France U-21 26 IRELAND U-21 8, Issoire

Tuesday, June 13:

IRELAND U-21 22 Argentina U-21 26, Cournon d’Auvergne

Saturday, June 17:

IRELAND U-21 v Georgia U-21, Issoire, 4.00pm (3.00pm Irish time)

Wednesday, June 21:

Matchday 4 – tbc

Sunday, June 25:

Matchday 5 – tbc