It will be crunch time for the Ireland Under-20s in bitterly cold Mazamet tonight as they bid to beat France and make it two wins out of two in this year’s RBS U-20 6 Nations. Head coach Allen Clarke has selected an unchanged team for the televised clash.
RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 12
FRANCE U-20s v IRELAND U-20s, Stade de la Chevaliere, Mazamet, 8.45pm local time/7.45pm Irish time (live RTE Two/RTE website)
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been named for their second outing of the 2010 RBS Under-20 6 Nations.
The side will take on their French counterparts on Friday evening at Stade de la Chevaliere in Mazamet.
In selecting his team to face France, Ireland Under-20 coach Allen Clarke has kept faith with the same side that started last Friday’s impressive 39-0 victory over Italy at Dubarry Park.
Winger Darren Hudson claimed the ESB International man-of-the-match award with a three-try contribution, while winger Simon Zebo and centres Brendan Macken and Nevin Spence also touched down.
The replacements bench is also unchanged, with all seven players having seen action in the second half against Italy.
Meanwhile, France are hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing 8-8 draw with their Scottish counterparts in Inverness.
Toulon winger Jérémy Sinzelle scored an early try to settle the French but the sin-binning of lock Jean Sousa before half-time allowed Scotland get back in touch – they were 8-5 down at half-time. The only score of the second half was a penalty from Scottish out-half Alex Blair.
The French U-20 management, led by the legendary Philippe Sella, has reacted by making five changes to the starting line-up to face Ireland.
Julien Fitz and Mathieu Lamoulie come into the back-line at full-back and outside centre respectively, while up front props Benjamin Geledan and Gwendal Lamache will make their Championship bows and flanker Jocelyn Grange joins Antoine Erbani and captain Tanguy Molcard in a rejigged back row.
FRANCE U-20: Julien Fritz (Lyon OU); Jérémy Sinzelle (RC Toulon), Mathieu Lamoulie (SU Agen), Romain Barthélémy (RC Toulon), Clément Lagain (Bayonne); Gilles Bosch (USA Perpignan), Alexi Bales (SU Agen); Benjamin Geledan (Biarritz Olympique), Mickaël Ivaldi (RC Toulon), Gwendal Lamache (RC Toulon), Georges Souvent (Stade Rochelais), Jean Sousa (Lyon OU), Jocelyn Grange (Lyon OU), Tanguy Molcard (Biarritz Olympique) (capt), Antoine Erbani (SU Agen).
Replacements: Eddy Ben Arous (Racing-Metro), Mathieu Giudicelli (Montpellier), Mickaël Blandin (CS Bourgoin-Jallieu), Kevin Gourdon (AS Clermont Auvergne), Guillaume Lafforgue (Bordeaux Begles), Alexandre Hubert (Limoges), Brice Dulin (SU Agen).
IRELAND U-20: Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Leinster); Darren Hudson (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Brendan Macken (Blackrock/Leinster), Nevin Spence (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); James McKinney (Queen’s University/Ulster), John Cooney (UCD /Leinster); Bryan Cagney (UCC/Munster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jack O’Connell (Lansdowne/Leinster), David O’Callaghan (UCC/Munster), Ben Marshall (UCD/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Patrick Butler (Shannon/Munster).
Replacements: David Doyle (UCD/Leinster), Stewart Maguire (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), Brian Hayes (Cork Constitution/Munster), Robin O’Sullivan (Bective Rangers/Leinster), Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Brian Kingston (Blackrock/Leinster), Eoin Griffin (Corinthians/Connacht).
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant Referees: Martin Fox, Alan Biggs (both England)
Television Match Official: Graham Hughes (England)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): France U-20s to win: 2/7; Draw: 20/1; Ireland U-20s to win: 5/2
Pre-Match Quotes: Allen Clarke (Ireland Under-20s) – “We are aware that we have a much tougher game ahead of us on Friday than we had last weekend. That being said, we have prepared and planned well for this fixture.
“The team gelled well last weekend and we are focused on the task ahead.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2007: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 19 France U-20s 16, Dubarry Park
2008: RBS U-20 6 Nations: France U-20s 24 Ireland U-20s 13, Stade Jacques Fouroux
2009: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 9 France U-20s 6, Dubarry Park