The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to play England in their opening Pool C match of the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy has been named.
Ireland Under-20 head coach Mike Ruddock has named 11 changes to the team that faced England in their last outing of the RBS Under-20 6 Nations earlier in the year.
Craig Gilroy has been selected at full-back and is joined in an exciting back-three by the experienced Andrew Conway and Andrew Boyle. Leinster’s Brendan Macken and Luke Marshall from Ulster make up the centre pairing.
Paddy Jackson, another player with Magners League experience, starts at out-half and is partnered at half-back by newcomer Kieran Marmion.
Hooker and captain Niall Annett will be joined in the front row by James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong, with Iain Henderson combining with Michael Kearney in the second row.
The pack is completed by flankers Jordi Murphy and Dominic Gallagher and number 8 Eoin McKeon from Connacht.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s opening fixture, Mike Ruddock said: “The players have trained very well. We have had a really good preparation with two warm-up games, which we didn’t have before last year’s tournament, so we are really positive about our build-up.
“We are going into the tournament in a very positive frame of mind and we know that England are favourites for this game.
“We realise that they are the Under-20 Grand Slam champions and we respect that, however this will be a different Ireland team to the one that they played in the Six Nations with as many as 11 changes to the starting team.
“We have prepared well with senior Ireland coaches, Les Kiss and Gert Smal, helping out and we are as ready as we can ever be for a game of this magnitude.”
Two of the Ireland Under-20s’ Pool C matches will be broadcast on Sky Sports – the game against England and next Tuesday’s clash with South Africa.
Those two games will also be streamed live on the official tournament website and there will be further coverage of the knockout stages on TV and online.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v England Under-20s, IRB Junior World Championship Pool C, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso, Friday, June 10, kick-off 6.10pm local time/5.10pm Irish time):
15 – Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster)
14 – Andrew Conway (Blackrock/Leinster)
13 – Brendan Macken (Blackrock/Leinster)
12 – Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
11 – Andrew Boyle (UCD/Leinster)
10 – Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
9 – Kieran Marmion (UWIC/Exile)
1 – James Tracy (UCD/Leinster)
2 – Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) (capt)
3 – Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 – Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Leinster)
5 – Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster)
6 – Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
7 – Dominic Gallagher (Dublin University/Ulster)
8 – Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht)
16 – David Doyle (UCD/Leinster)
17 – Conor Carey (Ballymena/Ulster)
18 – Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht)
19 – Shane Buckley (Garryowen/Munster)
20 – Peter du Toit (UCD/Leinster)
21 – James McKinney (Queen’s University/Ulster)
22 – JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster)
IRELAND UNDER-20 POOL MATCHES (all kick-off times are local time) –
Friday, June 10, 6.10pm: England v Ireland, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso (live Sky Sports 4)
Tuesday, June 14, 8.10pm: Ireland v South Africa, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso (live Sky Sports 3)
Saturday, June 18, 8.10pm: Ireland v Scotland, Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo