The Ireland Under-18 Schools team (sponsored by PwC) to play France in Gloucester in Saturday’s U-18 Six Nations Festival opener has been announced. The game kicks off at 2.40pm at Gillman’s Ground, Hartpury College and can be viewed on Free Sports – channel 429 on Sky in Ireland.
Peter Smyth’s Ireland U-18 Schools side will face France before taking on tournament hosts England at Sixways Stadium next Wednesday, and they will finish the festival at Kingsholm Stadium on Easter Sunday against Scotland. Smyth, who is in his second season as head coach, will be assisted by Mossy Lawler and Colm McMahon.
PBC Cork back rower Alex Kendellen, one of six players who lined out at the festival last year, will captain Ireland from number 8. All four provinces are represented in the starting XV, with Kendellen joined in the back row by Will Hickey of St. Michael’s College and Wallace High School’s Reuben Crothers.
Ulster duo Tom Stewart and Oscar Egan form the front row with Jack Boyle, another of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup-winning St. Michael’s side, while Darragh Murray, who captained Connacht to a historic IRFU U-18 Interpro title earlier this season, packs down with Alex Soroka, younger brother of Clontarf and former Connacht prop Ivan, in the second row.
Nathan Doak and Conor McKee make up an all-Ulster half-back pairing, the returning Karl Martin from St. Mary’s School in Drogheda features in midfield alongside Ben Carson, the sixth Ulster starter, and Naas talent Jamie Osborne, who scored five tries during the early-season U-18 Interpros, forms a pacy back-three with CBC Cork’s Aaron Leahy and Chris Cosgrave of St. Michael’s.
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS Team & Replacements (v France Under-18s, 2019 Under-18 Six Nations Festival, Gillman’s Ground, Hartpury College, Saturday, April 13, kick-off 2.40pm):
15. Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
14. Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)
13. Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School Drogheda/Boyne RFC/Leinster)
12. Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Ulster)
11. Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork/Munster)
10. Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Ulster)
9. Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper/Ulster)
1. Jack Boyle (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
2. Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster)
3. Oscar Egan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster)
4. Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Leinster)
5. Darragh Murray (Colaiste Chiaráin/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
6. Will Hickey (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
7. Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ulster)
8. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/Munster) (capt)
16. Lee Barron (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
17. George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
18. Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Munster)
19. Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht)
20. Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Connacht)
21. Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster)
22. Cian Whooley (CBC Cork/Munster)
23. Harry O’Riordan (CBC Cork/Munster)
24. Diarmuid McCormack (Clongowes Wood College/Connacht)
25. Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Connacht)
26. Diarmuid Killcommins (Coláiste Bhaile Chláir/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS – U-18 SIX NATIONS FESTIVAL FIXTURES:
Ireland Under-18 Schools v France Under-18s, Hartpury College, Gloucester, Saturday, April 13, 2.40pm
England Under-18s v Ireland Under-18 Schools, Sixways Stadium, Worcester, Wednesday, April 17, 1.40pm
Ireland Under-18 Schools v Scotland Under-18s, Kingsholm, Gloucester, Sunday, April 21, 11.10am