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Changes For Under-21s For Play-Off Clash

Changes For Under-21s For Play-Off Clash

The Ireland Under-21 team to play Argentina at the IRB U-21 World Championship on Wednesday shows nine changes from the side that beat Georgia 47-0 last weekend.

…UCC prop Darragh Hurley in action against Italy U-21 last February…

The Ireland Under-21 team to play Argentina at the IRB U-21 World Championship on Wednesday shows nine changes from the side that Georgia 47-0 last weekend.

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A tiring schedule has forced the Irish management, headed by coach Mark McDermott, to alter their selection again as they hope to gain revenge on the young Pumas who edged last week’s pool match battle by 26-22.

The winners of tomorrow’s play-off clash (Stade Darragon, Vichy, kick-off 2.00pm Irish time) will face England or Wales next Sunday for the chance to finish fifth in the 12-nation tournament. Should Ireland lose in Vichy, they will still have a shot at sixth or seventh. Last year’s Irish contingent finished ninth in Durban.

The changes in the backs from the seven-try victory over Georgia see Tom Gleeson come in at outside centre for Darren Cave, Bedford’s Kieran Hallett reclaims the out-half spot from Jonathan Sexton and Duncan Williams is benched with recent call-up Matthew D’Arcy taking over the scrum half duties.

In the pack, there is entirely new front row – Darragh Hurley, hooker Sean Cronin and Dave Ryan get the nod. Devin Toner is swapped in for Daniel Tuohy in the second row and David Pollock and Sean O’Brien are reinstated in the back row. Stuart Philpott’s exclusion means that 19-year-old flanker Pollock will captain the side for the second time at the tournament.

…Blackrock full-back Fionn Carr (centre) is Ireland’s joint-top try scorer at the U-21 World Championship with three tries. Belfast Harlequins hooker Stuart Philpott has also touched down three times…

Only D’Arcy and Essex did not start last week’s tie with the Argentinians, as team manager Niall O’Shea explained.

“The two changes in the starting line-up include two players who recently joined the squad as replacements and have played themselves into the side with excellent displays against Georgia,” he said.

“The team has been selected on the basis that we are playing Argentina – it is based more so on physical condition (after two weeks in the heat and three tough games), temperament and mental attitude at this stage than each player’s actual ability.

“All 26 players have the skill and talent to play at this stage of the competition, but Argentina offer a different challenge altogether. They are very physical up front especially at scrum time and have caused various teams big problems. Additionally, they play a strong pick and drive system that caused us problems in our last encounter. They match this with a flamboyant scrum half and full-back. Unlike other sides, their back line do not operate to a pattern.”

Ireland were 10-0 up against Argentina when they played them in Cournon d’Auvergne, as well as being 17-12 in front at the interval.

O’Shea relayed that the management were happy with the players’ efforts last time out against the South Americans but that “a lack of concentration, a breakdown in basic skills, and the inability to recognise when a team is down and when to put them away cost us the match.”

He added: “But we’re confident that we can improve in all these key areas and are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”

IRELAND UNDER-21 TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v Argentina U-21, Stade Darragon, kick-off 2.00pm Irish time, Vichy, Wednesday, June 21):

15 – Fionn Carr (Blackrock College RFC)
14 – Ian Hanly (UL Bohemians)
13 – Tom Gleeson (Cork Constitution)
12 – Fergus McFadden (UCD)
11 – Matthew Williams (Bristol)
10 – Kieran Hallett (Bedford Blues)
9 – Matthew D’Arcy (Dublin University)
1 – Darragh Hurley (UCC)
2 – Sean Cronin (Shannon)
3 – Dave Ryan (Highfield)
4 – David McGowan (Buccaneers)
5 – Devin Toner (Lansdowne)
6 – Michael Essex (UCC)
7 – David Pollock (Queen’s University) (captain)
8 – Sean O’Brien (UCD)


16 – Stuart Philpott (Belfast Harlequins)
17 – Callum Black (Worcester Warriors)
18 – Daniel Tuohy (Hartpury College/Gloucester)
19 – Diarmuid Laffan (Blackrock College RFC)
20 – Duncan Williams (UCC)
21 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College)
22 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins)


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 47 Georgia U-21 0, Issoire

Wednesday, June 21:

IRELAND U-21 v Argentina U-21, Stade Darragon, Vichy, 3.00pm (2.00pm Irish time)

Sunday, June 25:

Matchday 5 – tbc