Head coach Peter Smyth has rotated his PwC-sponsored Ireland Under-18 Schools squad following last Saturday’s 20-17 win over Italy in the opening round of the U-18 Six Nations Festival.
Ireland will field a much-changed team for their second round clash with hosts Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Wednesday (kick-off 2.30pm). RBAI back rower David McCann takes over the captaincy in a side that shows 11 personnel changes.
Chris Cosgrave joins his St. Michael’s College colleague Andrew Smith in a back-three completed by Bangor Grammar School speedster Aaron Sexton, while RBAI’s Angus Adair is set for his third successive start at centre, pairing up this time with Ben Power of Campbell College.
Straight swaps at half-back see Sancta Maria College’s Dylan Prendergast and Ben Murphy, son of Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy, both start for the first time, and Cork pair Connor Morrissey and Padraig McCarthy will combine with Tullow Community School tighthead Charlie Ward in a new-look front row.
Colaiste Ailigh’s Conor McMenamin and Newbridge’s Cian Prendergast, who captained the Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools side against Canada recently, will pack down together in the second row, while Leinster Schools Senior Cup winner Sean O’Brien from Blackrock and Clongowes’ Anthony Ryan fill the flank positions.
Three Under-18 Six Nations Festival second round games will be played at Cardiff Arms Park on Wednesday, with Italy v England (12pm) and France v Scotland (5pm) either side of Wales v Ireland. Tickets can be bought at the gate (£5 for adults and Under-16s have free admission).
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS Team & Replacements (v Wales Under-18s, Under-18 Six Nations Festival, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wednesday, April 4, kick-off 2.30pm):
15. Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College)
14. Andrew Smith (St. Michael’s College)
13. Ben Power (Campbell College)
12. Angus Adair (RBAI)
11. Aaron Sexton (Bangor GS)
10. Dylan Prendergast (Sancta Maria College)
9. Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray)
1. Connor Morrissey (Mayfield CS)
2. Padraig McCarthy (Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai)
3. Charlie Ward (Tullow Community School)
4. Conor McMenamin (Colaiste Ailigh)
5. Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College)
6. Sean O’Brien (Blackrock College)
7. Anthony Ryan (Clongowes Wood College)
8. David McCann (RBAI) (capt)
16. Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy)
17. John McKee (Campbell College)
18. Tom Clarkson (Blackrock College)
19. Cian Hurley (CBC Cork)
20. Tom Ahern (St. Augustine’s, Dungarvan)
21. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork)
22. Ryan O’Neill (RS Armagh)
23. Nathan Doak (Wallace HS)
24. Paddy McKenzie (East Glendalough School)
25. Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School, Drogheda)
26. Max O’Reilly (St. Gerard’s School)
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS FIXTURES/RESULTS:
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS 20 FRANCE U-18s 39
Saturday, March 24, Templeville Road
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS 20 ITALY U-18s 17
Saturday, March 31, Centre of Excellence, Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS v WALES U-18s
Wednesday, April 4, 2.30pm, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
IRELAND U-18 SCHOOLS v SCOTLAND U-18s
Sunday, April 8, 12pm, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff