Head coach Noel McNamara has announced the Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to face Italy in Rieti on Friday in the third round of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.
The game kicks off at 7pm local time/6pm Irish time and will be streamed live via the Irish Rugby YouTube Channel with thanks to PwC Ireland. There are two changes to the Ireland U-20 side that claimed a 24-5 win away to Scotland last time out.
Shannon clubman Craig Casey, who missed the Scotland match through injury, returns to partner Harry Byrne at half-back. The other change sees the fit-again Angus Kernohan selected on the right wing – he won five Ireland U-20 caps last season and made his latest senior appearance for Ulster last Friday.
Munster duo Jake Flannery and Jonathan Wren complete the back-three with the centre pairing of captain David Hawkshaw and Liam Turner, the man-of-the-match against Scotland, getting its third successive outing of the tournament.
Corinthians hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin, who is chasing his fourth try of the Championship already, features in an unchanged front row with Josh Wycherley and Thomas Clarkson, while Charlie Ryan and Niall Murray, the second Connacht player in the pack, team up again in the engine room.
Martin Moloney, Scott Penny and number 8 John Hodnett combine once more in the loose forwards, with back-up provided by Ronan Watters of St. Mary’s College – one of four potential debutants on the bench. Banbridge prop Callum Reid and Munster pair Billy Scannell and Ben Healy are the other players looking to win their first U-20 caps.
Speaking ahead of Friday night’s clash with Italy, McNamara said:
We’re pleased to have won our opening two games, but the players are ambitious, and they are constantly looking for improvements in their performance, both individually and collectively.
“Our previous meetings with Italy have been really challenging encounters, with only one score separating the sides in our past number of games. The down week allowed for the players to get some good recovery in, as well as reviewing the Scotland game and looking ahead to this weekend.
“We had a really positive session with the Ireland senior side last Friday at the Aviva Stadium, so the players are now looking forward to getting back into the green jersey on Friday night in Rieti.”
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v Italy Under-20s, 2019 Under-20 Six Nations Championship, Stadio Centro d’Italia, Rieti, Friday, February 22, kick-off 7pm local time/6pm Irish time):
15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
14. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster)
13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster)
12. David Hawkshaw (Clontarf/Leinster) (capt)
11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster)
10. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht)
3. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster)
4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
5. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht)
6. Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
7. Scott Penny (UCD/Leinster)
8. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster)
16. Billy Scannell (Young Munster/Munster) *
17. Callum Reid (Banbridge/Ulster) *
18. Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster)
19. Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster)
20. Ronan Watters (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) *
21. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
22. Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster) *
23. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player at Under-20 level
IRELAND UNDER-20 2019 U-20 SIX NATIONS RESULTS/FIXTURES:
Friday, February 1:
IRELAND UNDER-20s 35 ENGLAND UNDER-20s 27, Irish Independent Park, Cork
Friday, February 8:
SCOTLAND UNDER-20s 5 IRELAND UNDER-20s 24, Netherdale, Gala RFC, Galashiels
Friday, February 22:
ITALY UNDER-20s v IRELAND UNDER-20s, Stadio Centro d’Italia – Manlio Scopigno, Rieti, 7pm local time/6pm Irish time (live Irish Rugby YouTube channel)
Friday, March 8:
IRELAND UNDER-20s v FRANCE UNDER-20s, Irish Independent Park, Cork, 7.15pm (live RTÉ Two)
Click here to buy your match ticket(s) from Ticketmaster.ie
Friday, March 15:
WALES UNDER-20s v IRELAND UNDER-20s, Zip World Stadium, Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two)