For the first time in this year’s Under-20 Six Nations championship, Ireland coach Eric Elwood has named an unchanged team – the Irish U-20s, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, take on Italy this Friday in Benevento.
The U-20s clinched the Triple Crown last weekend with a 31-8 victory over Scotland head into their final game against Italy looking to secure an unprecedented U-20 Grand Slam.
Commenting on the game, Eric Elwood said: “We all know what a great opportunity this is, but rather than focus on the prize at the end, we are looking for the players to focus on the performance.
“In the last game against Scotland, we probably had a certain amount of nerves and we played a little bit within ourselves in the first half, but the second half was a vast improvement and near the levels of where we wanted.
“Italy will be a big challenge and will be very physical up front as they have shown in their previous games, so we have to be able to meet that challenge,” he added.
“Overall, the championship has allowed the players to really prosper and play to their potential and if they continue to do that, hopefully we will be on the right side of the result.”
IRELAND UNDER-20 TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v Italy U-21, U-20 Six Nations, Friday, March 16, Santa Colomba Stadium, Benevento, kick-off 2.30pm local time):
– Player/Club/Province –
15 – Felix Jones (Seapoint/Leinster)
14 – Shane Monahan (Dublin University/Leinster)
13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
12 – Aidan Wynne (Buccaneers/Connacht)
11 – Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster)
10 – Ian Keatley (UCD/Leinster)
9 – Paul O’Donohoe (UCD/Leinster)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 – Richard Sweeney (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
3 – Jamie Hagan (Greystones/Leinster)
4 – Conor McInerney (UCD/Leinster)
5 – Andrew Browne (Galwegians/Connacht)
6 – Thomas Anderson (Dungannon/Ulster)
7 – Kevin Sheahan (UCD/Leinster)
8 – David Pollock (QUB/Ulster) (capt)
16 – Ger Slattery (Young Munster/Munster)
17 – Ruaidhri Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
18 – Neilus Keogh (UCC/Munster)
19 – Eoghan Grace (Shannon/Munster)
20 – David Drake (Ballymena/Ulster)
21 – Niall O’Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
22 – Kyle Tonetti (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Manager – Phil Orr
Coach – Eric Elwood
Assistant Coach – Dan McFarland