After losing to France last time out, the Ireland Under-20s will bid to get their RBS U-20 6 Nations title bid back on track against current table toppers England at Kingsholm. In last year’s corresponding clash, a last-gasp drop goal from Ian Madigan steered Ireland to a 19-18 victory at Dubarry Park.
RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 26
ENGLAND U-20s v IRELAND U-20s, Kingsholm, Gloucester, 7.45pm
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been named for their third outing of the 2010 RBS Under-20 6 Nations.
Ireland U-20 coach Allen Clarke has retained the opening team that started against both Italy and France and has made just one change to the replacements bench where Shannon’s Duncan Casey takes the place of UCD clubman David Doyle.
Full-back Andrew Conway starts after making his debut for Leinster as a second half replacement in last weekend’s Magners League win over the Scarlets.
Ireland lost 20-15 to France in their last outing of the Championship and will be keen to get back to winning ways against a strong English side.
Meanwhile, full-back Jack Wallace, prop Lee Imiolek and number 8 Alex Gray all come into the England starting line-up to face Ireland.
Wallace from Wasps wins his first cap at this level, Sale’s Imiolek makes his first start and Gray from Newcastle Falcons returns from suspension.
Elsewhere, Gloucester scrum half Jordi Pasqualin is on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury, Newcastle Falcons prop Kieran Brookes makes his first appearance at this level and Wasps wing Christian Wade comes into the squad fresh from England Sevens duty.
England top the RBS U-20 6 Nations table after opening wins over Wales (41-14) and Italy (16-10).
IRELAND U-20: Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Leinster); Darren Hudson (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/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: Duncan Casey (Shannon/Munster), Stewart Maguire (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Brian Hayes (Cork Constitution/Munster), Robin O’Sullivan (Bective Rangers/Leinster), Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Brian Kingston (Blackrock College/Leinster), Eoin Griffin (Corinthians/Connacht).
ENGLAND U-20: Jack Wallace (London Wasps); Will Hurrell (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Tom Casson (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester); Freddie Burns (Gloucester), Sam Harrison (Leicester Tigers); Lee Imiolek (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens), Shaun Knight (Gloucester), Danny Wright (Gloucester), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Jackson Wray (Saracens), Jacob Rowan (Leeds Carnegie) (capt), Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons).
Replacements: Arthur Ellis (London Wasps), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), George Kruis (Saracens), Jordi Pasqualin (Gloucester), Jake Sharp (Saracens), Christian Wade (London Wasps).
Referee: Stefano Pennè (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Claudio Castagnoli, Emiliano Roscini (both Italy)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): England U-20s to win: 4/11; Draw: 20/1; Ireland U-20s to win: 2/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Allen Clarke (Ireland Under-20s) – “Overall we were pleased with the performance against France. We were disappointed with the result but we created several chances in very difficult conditions and we will look to improve our accuracy levels for the next game.
“England have two wins under their belt and have certainly laid down a marker in terms of their performances. We will have to be at our best in Gloucester to get the result.”
Mark Mapletoft (England Under-20s) – “Lee Imiolek’s done really well with us this year. He’s a good scrummager, offers around the field defensively and in attack and it’s the right opportunity to give him a start.
“We’ve also got a good chance to have a look at Jack Wallace. He’s a year young, he’s had some opportunities at Wasps and we always keep the door open for these younger players.
“We’re pleased to have Alex back. He’s served his ban and he’s eager to be involved again after doing well for us against Wales.
“Ireland look a good side and were very convincing winners against Italy. They’ve got a strong ball-carrying back row, strong centres, a good full-back and will threaten all over the pitch.
“Some of our players will still be hurting after last year but there’s not a great carry over and this is about this game, not the last one. If we perform to the targets we set, we’ll be very competitive.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2007: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 13 England U-20s 6, Dubarry Park
2008: RBS U-20 6 Nations: England U-20s 43 Ireland U-20s 14, Kingsholm
2009: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 19 England U-20s 18, Dubarry Park