The Ireland Under-19 team selected to play France in Saturday night’s clash at Marcoussis shows 11 personnel changes to the side that won the opening game in midweek.
Full-back David O’Mahony, who scored all of Ireland’s points in the 13-10 win over the French, centres Jacob Stockdale and Paul Kiernan (captain) and flanker Greg Jones are the only players retained from Wednesday’s starting line-up.
Wingers Joseph White and Jonathan Rossborough join O’Mahony in the back-three with Stockdale, a recent Ireland Under-20 debutant, making the move to outside centre where he partners Kiernan. There is a new half-back pairing in Ballymena Academy’s Andrew Magrath and John Poland from PBC Cork.
Garbally College’s Conor Kenny, who got game-time off the bench on Wednesday, will start in the front row alongside Vakhtang Abdaladze (Clontarf) and Clongowes captain John Molony, with Terenure’s Michael Melia and Hugh Sloan, a colleague of Stockdale’s at Queen’s University, linking up in the second row.
UCD clubman Jones packs down at blindside flanker once again and Neil Reilly, last year’s Ireland U-18 Clubs captain, and Dan Trayers, who was in barnstorming form during Cistercian College Roscrea’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup-winning run, complete the back row.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ireland U-19 head coach Peter Malone said: “I think it’s good when you’re playing two games over four days to freshen up. We’ve 26 good players there. We trust the players, we trust the whole group that we’ll put in different guys who are able to handle the game from the start as well.
“I think it (Saturday) will be something different. You would expect a reaction when a proud rugby country like France loses at home. They’ll identify what they saw as weaknesses on Wednesday, as we will do with them.
“I’d be hopeful that we can up our performance another 15% again from where we were on Wednesday. Having reviewed the game (yesterday) with the lads, there’s a lot of areas we can improve on as well. It’s important that we’re that bit better again on Saturday night.”
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France Under-19s, Under-19 International Match, French National Rugby Centre, Marcoussis, Saturday, April 4, kick-off 7pm local time/6pm Irish time):
15. David O’Mahony (Young Munster RFC)
14. Joseph White (Cork Constitution FC)
13. Jacob Stockdale (Queen’s University RFC)
12. Paul Kiernan (UCC RFC) (capt)
11. Jonathan Rossborough (Ballymena RFC)
10. Andrew Magrath (Ballymena Academy)
9. John Poland (PBC Cork)
1. Vakhtang Abdaladze (Clontarf FC)
2. John Molony (Clongowes Wood College)
3. Conor Kenny (Garbally College)
4. Michael Melia (Terenure College RFC)
5. Hugh Sloan (Queen’s University RFC)
6. Greg Jones (UCD RFC)
7. Neil Reilly (Clontarf FC)
8. Dan Trayers (Cistercian College Roscrea)
16. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution FC)
17. Andrew Porter (UCD RFC)
18. Ben Betts (Young Munster RFC)
19. Peter Claffey (NUIG RFC)
20. Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College)
21. Max Deegan (St. Michael’s College)
22. Conall Boomer (Cottelsoe RFC, Australia)
23. Liam Free (Glamorgan Wanderers RFC, Wales)
24. Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College)
25. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf FC)
26. Matthew Byrne (Terenure College RFC)
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)