Head coach Nigel Carolan has named the Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to face unbeaten England at Donnybrook in the U-20 Six Nations on Friday (kick-off 6pm).
There are two changes to the side that took on Wales in Colwyn Bay last Saturday. Gavin Mullin, son of former Ireland senior star Brendan Mullin, returns from injury to wear the number 13 jersey and Munster Academy member John Foley comes in at blindside flanker.
In the backs, Jonny Stewart and Bill Johnston, who has kicked 24 points in his last two games, continue their half-back partnership, and Skerries native Ciaran Frawley will line up at inside centre alongside Mullin.
The back-three combination again sees captain Calvin Nash, the scorer of Ireland’s first try against Wales, on the left wing with Tommy O’Brien on the opposite flank and Jordan Larmour at full-back.
The front row of Joey Conway, Tadgh McElroy and Charlie Connolly will start together for the fourth match in a row. Lansdowne hooker McElroy is the joint-second top try scorer in the Championship with three touchdowns.
Fineen Wycherley and Oisin Dowling get the nod as the second row pairing for the fourth time in five games, while Foley, who made his Munster bow against the Maori All Blacks in November, will win his first Ireland U-20 cap in the back row alongside Paul Boyle, the scorer of two tries so far, and number 8 Caelan Doris.
Speaking ahead of the RTE Two-televised St. Patrick’s Day fixture, Nigel Carolan said: “It was disappointing to come back from Wales without the win last weekend, but unfortunately some things just didn’t work out for us on the night. The players have dusted themselves down from that game and are now looking forward to Friday.
“England are coming to town with the title in the bag, but the players really want to finish the campaign on a positive note, so we’re confident that we can put in a big performance in front of a home crowd on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Limited tickets are available for Friday night’s double header at Donnybrook – Ireland U-20s v England U-20s (kick-off 6pm) and Ireland Women v England Women (kick-off 8pm) – via www.ticketmaster.ie.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v England Under-20s, 2017 Under-20 Six Nations, Donnybrook Stadium, Friday, March 17, kick-off 6pm):
15. Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
14. Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
13. Gavin Mullin (UCD/Leinster)
12. Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
11. Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster) (capt)
10. Bill Johnston (Garryowen/Munster)
9. Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster)
1. Joey Conway (UL Bohemians/Munster)
2. Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
3. Charlie Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster)
4. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
5. Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster)
6. John Foley (Shannon/Munster) *
7. Paul Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster)
8. Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
16. Ronan Kelleher (UCD/Leinster)
17. Greg McGrath (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
18. Matthew Burke (Corinthians/Connacht)
19. Jack Regan (UCD/Leinster)
20. Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/Munster)
21. Jack Stafford (Shannon/Munster) *
22. Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster)
23. Colm Hogan (Dublin University/Munster)
* Denotes uncapped player at Under-20 level
Not considered due to injury:
Peter Cooper, Cillian Gallagher, Jack Lyons, Johnny McPhillips, Alex McHenry, Jack Kelly, Robert Lyttle
IRELAND UNDER-20 Management –
Head Coach – Nigel Carolan
Assistant Coach – Peter Malone
Scrum Coach – Conor Twomey
Team Manager – Hendrik Kruger
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Martin Kennedy
Physiotherapist – Nicholas Lalor
Performance Analyst – Jim Herring
Masseur – Gareth Rossi
Equipment and Logistics Manager – Lar Hogan
Media Officer – Sam O’Byrne
IRELAND UNDER-20s’ Six Nations Schedule:
Friday, February 3
Scotland U-20s 19 Ireland U-20s 20, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
Friday, February 10
Italy U-20s 26 Ireland U-20s 27, Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato
Friday, February 24
Ireland U-20s 27 France U-20s 22, Donnybrook Stadium
Saturday, March 11
Wales U-20s 41 Ireland U-20s 27, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay
Friday, March 17
Ireland U-20s v England U-20s, Donnybrook Stadium, 6pm (live on RTE Two/Sky Sports Mix)