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13 Changes For Ireland Under-20s’ Final Pool Game

13 Changes For Ireland Under-20s’ Final Pool Game

The Ireland Under-20 team (sponsored by PwC) has been confirmed to play Georgia in the final Pool A game of the World Rugby U-20 Championship at the Manchester City Academy Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 5.30pm).

Head coach Nigel Carolan has made 13 changes to the side that defeated New Zealand 33-24 for an historic victory at the same venue last Saturday.

In the forwards, James Bollard, Vincent O’Brien and Vakh Abdaladze start together in a new front row. Debutant Evan Mintern from Cork Constitution is joined in the second row by his Munster colleague Sean O’Connor.

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Greg Jones is the only forward retained from the starting line-up against New Zealand and he will pack down with new cap Conall Boomer of Belfast Harlequins and Shannon number 8 Kelvin Brown.

There is also a new-look back-line, with 18-year-old scrum half Niall Saunders making his first start at this level. He will link up with Ulster’s Johnny McPhillips, who came off the bench to kick eight points against the Baby Blacks. 

Paul Kiernan and Jimmy O’Brien make up the centre partnership, while UCD’s Hugo Keenan is set for his third start of the tournament on the left wing. The back-three is completed by Ireland Sevens international Terry Kennedy and Brett Connon, who was called up as an injury replacement for the unfortunate Bill Johnston (shoulder).

With regular captain James Ryan moving to the replacements, the much-changed team will be captained by UCC centre Kiernan, who led Munster to the IRFU Under-20 Interprovincial title earlier this season and skippered the Ireland U-19s last year.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match in Manchester, Carolan said: “We’re in a good position with two wins from two so far in this competition but we now have a big test against what is a very physical Georgian side.

“They pushed Wales all the way at the weekend (losing 10-9), so they will be looking to build on that performance and will be confident coming into this match.

“The nature of the tournament means that games come thick and fast so it’s important that we use our whole squad. There are a number of players who will be starting their first U-20 World Championship match so we’re looking forward to seeing them in action.”

The Ireland U-20s’ clash with the Georgians will be broadcast live on TG4 and Sky Sports 4 HD and will be refereed by Craig Evans from Wales.

World Rugby Under-20 Championship – Ticket Information

World Rugby Under-20 Championship Fixtures/Results

IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v Georgia Under-20s, 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship Pool A, Manchester City Academy Stadium, Wednesday, June 15, kick-off 5.30pm):

15. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons/Exiles)
14. Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
12. Paul Kiernan (UCC/Munster) (capt)
11. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University/Ulster)
9. Niall Saunders (Harlequins/Exiles)
1. James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster)
2. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution/Munster)
3. Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Evan Mintern (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
5. Sean O’Connor (Cashel/Munster)
6. Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster)
7. Conall Boomer (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
8. Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster)


16. Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)
17. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
18. Adam Coyle (Naas/Leinster)
19. James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
20. Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21. Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht)
22. Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)

* Denotes uncapped player at Under-20 level


Pool A –

Wales 25 IRELAND 26
Manchester City Academy Stadium

New Zealand 24 IRELAND 33
Manchester City Academy Stadium

IRELAND v Georgia
Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday, June 15, 5.30pm

Manchester City Academy Stadium or AJ Bell Stadium, Salford
Monday, June 20

Manchester City Academy Stadium or AJ Bell Stadium, Salford
Saturday, June 25

Ireland’s Pool A fixtures will be shown live on TG4. The tournament will also be shown on Sky Sports and streamed live via the World Rugby website.