Ireland Under-19 head coach Kieran Campbell has made five changes to the team as they prepare to lock horns with France again in Bordeaux on Sunday (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time).
Blackrock College’s Tom Roche and Michael Lowry of RBAI are the new additions to the back-line, slotting in on the left wing and at out-half respectively. Roche joins a back-three which includes Mark Keane, the scorer of Ireland’s second try in the midweek match, and full-back Michael Silvester who made two blistering second half breaks.
The selection of Rainey Old Boys clubman John McCusker in the second row is the only change in the tight five, while Ireland captain Sean Masterson will have two 2017 Schools Senior Cup-winning skippers alongside him in the back row – Jack O’Sullivan from Munster champions PBC Cork and Max Kearney who led Belvedere College to the Leinster title last month.
Ireland team manager Barney McGonigle says the players are looking forward to tomorrow’s rematch and are aiming to ‘deliver on the key learnings that were highlighted’ after Tuesday’s 44-15 loss to the hosts.
“We’ll be looking for a progression in the performances delivered by all the players who will have the opportunity to showcase the development and growth obtained through the week,” he said.
“All the players participated in an objective review process of the individual, unit and team performances in that first game. They all had the opportunity to use self and peer evaluations as an important part of the review process.
“We’ve really valued and benefitted from the opportunity to play these games against the French U-19 teams in recent seasons. It’s enabled the IRFU staff to accelerate the development of these players for the future.
“They boys have been exposed to a different rugby culture in a very challenging environment, with the opportunity to develop their full range of skills with two Tests against French opposition of the highest quality.
“This week has provided a signpost for the future development of all the players. The hope is that the experience will enhance their ability and desire to progress to the Ireland Under-20s next season and provincial senior honours and beyond in the not too distant future.”
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France Under-19s, Under-19 International Match, Stade Robert Brettes, Merignac, Bordeaux, Sunday, April 16, kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time):
15. Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster)
14. Mark Keane (Instonians/Ulster)
13. James Hume (RBAI/Ulster)
12. David McCarthy (Garryowen/Munster)
11. Tom Roche (Blackrock College/Leinster)
10. Michael Lowry (RBAI/Ulster)
9. Hugh O’Sullivan (Belvedere College/Leinster)
1. James French (Bandon Grammar School/Munster)
2. Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen/Munster)
3. Tom O’Toole (Campbell College/Ulster)
4. John McCusker (Rainey Old Boys/Ulster)
5. Jack Dunne (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
6. Jack O’Sullivan (PBC Cork/Munster)
7. Max Kearney (Belvedere College/Leinster)
8. Sean Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht) (capt)
16. Alexander Clarke (Ballymena Academy/Ulster)
17. Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster)
18. Bryan O’Connor (PBC Cork/Munster)
19. Matthew Dalton (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster)
20. Aaron Hall (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
21. James Kenny (Gonzaga College/Leinster)
22. Angus Curtis (Queen’s University/Ulster)
23. Corey Reid (Marist College/Connacht)
24. Jack Cooke (London Irish/Exiles)
25. Conor Wharton (Leeds Beckett University/Exiles)
26. Peter Sullivan (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)