Following two outings against Japan, the Ireland Under-19 squad (sponsored by PwC) will play France U-19s in back-to-back fixtures over the next five days. Today’s match has been moved to the 4G pitch at the University of Limerick.
Ireland Under-19 head coach Tom Tierney has reverted to the majority of the team that defeated Japan 40-29 in their opening game over a week ago, with just four personnel changes to that winning side.
IQ Rugby pair Iwan Hughes and Caolan Englefield come into the back-line on the left wing and at scrum half respectively, while Ireland U-20 international James McCarthy moves to full-back and Sean French and Stewart Moore resume their centre partnership. Hughes, McCarthy and French scored five of Ireland’s six tries in the first Japanese game.
Ballymena Academy’s Bruce Houston links up at half-back with Harlequins U-18 regular Englefield, and Ballynahinch hooker Claytan Milligan, who touched down twice in the second match against Japan, combines with Cistercian College Roscrea duo Josh Wycherley and Michael Milne in the front row. It will be Milne’s third start at tighthead.
Another Roscrea forward, Luke Clohessy, and UCD’s Charlie Ryan are also set for their third starts of the series, featuring in the back row and second row respectively.
IQ Rugby’s Ciaran Booth, who impressed in the Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools side’s two wins over Canada U-19s, will pack down alongside Ryan, while Scott Penny and number 8 Azur Allison, who captains the Ireland U-19s for the second time, complete the loose forwards trio.
Tierney’s charges will face France again at the home of Connacht Rugby next Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm). Classed as the French Under-20 Development squad, the visitors had a recent outing against Romania, winning 41-7, and will play Scotland in Edinburgh after their two encounters with Ireland.
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France Under-19s, Under-19 International Match, University of Limerick 4G, Tuesday, April 3, kick-off 5pm):
15. James McCarthy (UL Bohemians)
14. Conor Phillips (Crescent CC)
13. Sean French (PBC Cork)
12. Stewart Moore (Ballymena Academy)
11. Iwan Hughes (Bristol/IQ Rugby)
10. Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy)
9. Caolan Englefield (Harlequins/St. Paul’s CS/IQ Rugby)
1. Josh Wycherley (CC Roscrea)
2. Claytan Milligan (Ballynahinch)
3. Michael Milne (CC Roscrea)
4. Charlie Ryan (UCD)
5. Ciaran Booth (Sale Sharks/St. Ambrose College/IQ Rugby)
6. Luke Clohessy (CC Roscrea)
7. Scott Penny (St. Michael’s College)
8. Azur Allison (Ballymena) (capt)
16. Billy Scannell (PBC Cork)
17. Donnacha Mescal (Blackrock College)
18. Paul McGookin (Ballyclare)
19. Martin Moloney (Athy)
20. Jamie Macartney (Campbell College)
21. Graham Curtis (Malone)
22. Ben Healy (Glenstal Abbey)
23. Liam Turner (Blackrock College)
IRELAND UNDER-19 FIXTURES/RESULTS:
IRELAND U-19s 40 JAPAN U-19s 29
Saturday, March 24, Donnybrook
IRELAND U-19s 24 JAPAN U-19s 40
Wednesday, March 28, Donnybrook
IRELAND U-19s v FRANCE U-19s
Tuesday, April 3, 5pm, the Sportsground
IRELAND U-19s v FRANCE U-19s
Saturday, April 7, 2.30pm, the Sportsground