Coaches Peter Malone and Kieran Campbell have selected the Ireland Under-19 team to play France in the first of the sides’ two matches at the French National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis this week.
The first game of the international double header takes place at Marcoussis on Wednesday evening (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time). The second fixture is scheduled for Easter Saturday.
UCC’s Paul Kiernan, who captains the selected Ireland team from inside centre, is one of the players involved who lined out for the Ireland Under-18 Schools side last season.
Two of this year’s Ireland Under-20 caps will start against the French – Jacob Stockdale on the left wing and loosehead prop Andrew Porter – and a new half-back pairing sees Newbridge College captain Jimmy O’Brien linking up with the Wales-based Liam Free whose paternal grandmother hails from Waterford.
Munster duo Vincent O’Brien and Ben Betts will join Porter in the front row, with Rockwell College’s Munster Senior Cup-winning captain Sean O’Connor lining out in the second row alongside Peter Claffey, who played for Connacht Eagles earlier in the season.
The starting back row contains Leinster pair Greg Jones and Max Deegan along with Ulster flanker Conall Boomer whose gap year in Australia has seen him pick up a Southern States Championship winners’ medal with the Western Australia Under-20s.
The matchday squad includes six players who played for the Ireland U-18 Clubs side against France in Marcoussis twelve months ago – skipper Neil Reilly, Conor O’Brien, Betts, Hugh Sloan, Vakhtang Abdaladze and Joseph White.
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France Under-19s, Under-19 International Match, French National Rugby Centre, Marcoussis, Wednesday, April 1, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):
15. David O’Mahony (Young Munster RFC)
14. Matthew Byrne (Terenure College RFC)
13. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf FC)
12. Paul Kiernan (UCC RFC) (capt)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Queen’s University RFC)
10. Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College)
9. Liam Free (Glamorgan Wanderers RFC, Wales)
1. Andrew Porter (UCD RFC)
2. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution FC)
3. Ben Betts (Young Munster RFC)
4. Peter Claffey (NUIG RFC)
5. Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College)
6. Greg Jones (UCD RFC)
7. Conall Boomer (Cottelsoe RFC, Australia)
8. Max Deegan (St. Michael’s College)
16. John Molony (Clongowes Wood College)
17. Vakhtang Abdaladze (Clontarf FC)
18. Conor Kenny (Garbally College)
19. Michael Melia (Terenure College RFC)
20. Hugh Sloan (Queen’s University RFC)
21. Dan Trayers (Cistercian College Roscrea)
22. Neil Reilly (Clontarf FC)
23. John Poland (PBC Cork)
24. Andrew Magrath (Ballymena Academy)
25. Jonathan Rossborough (Ballymena RFC)
26. Joseph White (Cork Constitution FC)
IRELAND UNDER-19 MANAGEMENT TEAM –
Peter Malone (Head Coach)
Kieran Campbell (Assistant Coach)
Barney McGonigle (Team Manager)
Conor Twomey (Scrum Coach)
Declan Browne (Fitness Coach)
Tim O’Flanagan (Team Doctor)
Barry Smith (Team Physio)
Carmel O’Dwyer (Squad Co-ordinator)
Vinny Hammond (Team Analyst)
Jim Herring (Performance Analyst)
Pat Downey (Baggage Master)