Head coach Mark Butler has made nine changes in personnel for the Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team’s second clash with England Under-18 Counties at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth on Saturday (kick-off 12pm).
The Ireland U-18s (sponsored by PwC) are aiming to bounce back from Wednesday’s 15-13 defeat to the same opposition, a game which they led by eight points at half-time thanks to two unconverted first half tries.
Munster pair Tommy Downes and Jack Hunt return to the back-line at inside centre and on the left wing respectively, while there are straight swaps at half-back as Methody’s Thomas Armstrong and Shane Murphy from St. Joseph’s Rush take the reins from Michael Cooke and Charlie O’Doherty.
Bruff’s Fionn Flanagan, vice-captain Mark Nicholson from Wicklow and Campbell College tighthead Paddy McAlpine are selected in the front row, reuniting the starting trio from the first Canada game, with Paddy Kelly from St. Munchin’s combining with Buccaneers’ Darragh Murray in the engine room.
Nenagh Ormond flanker Evan Murphy captains Ireland from a back row which includes IQ Rugby duo Joshua Dunne and Chris Moore, the latter exchanging places with Blackrock College’s Ed Brennan at blindside flanker. Downes’ CBC Cork team-mate, Scott Buckley, has been added to the bench.
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS & SCHOOLS Team & Replacements (v England Under-18 Counties, Underage International Match, HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth, Saturday, April 7, kick-off 12pm):
15. Oran McNulty (Bath Academy/Millfield/IQ Rugby)
14. Tom Bacon (Wasps/Henley College/IQ Rugby)
13. Hayden Hyde (Harlequins Academy/Cranleigh School/IQ Rugby)
12. Tommy Downes (CBC Cork)
11. Jack Hunt (Rockwell College)
10. Thomas Armstrong (Methodist College Belfast)
9. Shane Murphy (Skerries RFC/St. Joseph’s Rush)
1. Fionn Flanagan (Bruff)
2. Mark Nicholson (Wicklow/Colaiste Chill Mhantain)
3. Paddy McAlpine (Campbell College)
4. Darragh Murray (Buccaneers/Colaiste Chiarain)
5. Paddy Kelly (St. Munchin’s College)
6. Chris Moore (Beechen Cliff School/IQ Rugby)
7. Evan Murphy (Nenagh Ormond/Nenagh CBS) (capt)
8. Joshua Dunne (Nottingham Academy/Denstone College/IQ Rugby)
16. Scott Buckley (CBC Cork)
17. Aaron Hennessy (Ennis/The Alfa Project, Scarriff)
18. Liam Winnett (Buccaneers/Marist College)
19. Eoin O’Connor (Waterpark/Gaeilcholaiste Phortlairge)
20. Ed Brennan (Blackrock College)
21. Charlie O’Doherty (Newcastle West/Scoil Mhuire agus Ide)
22. Michael Cooke (Sedbergh School/IQ Rugby)
23. Saul O’Carroll (Buccaneers/Garbally College)