Ulster Academy trio Iwan Hughes, Stewart Moore and Azur Allison will make their Ireland Under-20 debuts as part of the team to play England in the first round of the World Rugby U-20 Championship on Tuesday.
The Pool B opener takes place at the Club de Rugby Atheneo Immaculada in Santa Fe (kick-off 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time – live on eir Sport 1). Sponsored by PwC, the Ireland U-20s are targeting their second win of the season over England whom they defeated 35-27 during their Grand Slam-winning run.
Josh Wycherley, top-scoring hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin and Thomas Clarkson form a familiar front row, supported by captain Charlie Ryan and fellow lock Ryan Baird who makes his first Ireland U-20 start. Banbridge clubman David McCann does likewise in a new-look back row which includes openside John Hodnett and debutant Allison at number 8.
With Harry Byrne on the list of injury-enforced absentees, head coach Noel McNamara has opted to move Jake Flannery from full-back to out-half. He partners his Shannon and Munster team-mate Craig Casey at half-back, with Moore and Leinster talent Liam Turner combining in the centre.
Fresh from his first year in the Ulster Academy, Hughes wins his first Ireland U-20 cap at full-back with his provincial colleague Angus Kernohan and Munster’s Jonathan Wren on the wings. Tierney-Martin and Ryan are the two players who have experience of last summer’s tournament in France.
World Rugby have introduced a change to how replacements can be used for this year’s U-20 Championship, with the remaining squad members outside of the starting XV all allowed to be named on the bench. Declan Adamson, Charlie Ward, Thomas Ahern and IQ Rugby’s Ciaran Booth are standing by to make their debuts.
Speaking ahead of the opening game in Argentina, McNamara said:
We arrived into Santa Fe on Thursday and the players have settled in really well. They’ve focused on their recovery after the travel and are now looking forward to taking the field and getting things underway.
“We know from the Six Nations that England are a good side, and they have a lot of tradition in this tournament, but the primary focus is ourselves and what we control on the day.”
The 2019 installment of the World Rugby U-20 Championship will run from June 4 to 22, and Santa Fe’s Club de Rugby Atheneo Immaculada is the venue for Ireland’s pool games against England, Australia and Italy. The play-off fixtures will take place in Rosario between the Racecourse Stadium and Club Old Resian.
Ireland’s matches will be shown live on eir Sport, while there will be live streaming via the World Rugby website in certain regions, and ITV hold the UK television rights. Tickets for the tournament are available via www.ticketek.com.ar.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v England Under-20s, 2019 World Rugby U-20 Championship – Pool B, Club de Rugby Atheneo Immaculada, Santa Fe, Argentina, Tuesday, June 4, kick-off 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time):
15. Iwan Hughes (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
14. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster)
13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster)
12. Stewart Moore (Malone/Ulster) *
11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster)
10. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
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) (capt)
5. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
6. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster)
7. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster)
8. Azur Allison (Ballymena/Ulster) *
16. Declan Adamson (Clontarf/Leinster) *
17. Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster)
18. Charlie Ward (Clontarf/Leinster) *
19. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
20. Ronan Watters (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
21. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht)
22. Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster) *
23. Ciaran Booth (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby) *
24. Colm Reilly (Buccaneers/Connacht)
25. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
26. Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster)
27. Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster)
28. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
Ireland Under-20s – World Rugby U-20 Championship Fixtures
Tuesday, June 4 – England v IRELAND, CRAI, Santa Fe, 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time
Saturday. June 8 – Australia v IRELAND, CRAI, Santa Fe, 10.30am local time/2.30pm Irish time
Wednesday, June 12 – Italy v IRELAND, CRAI, Santa Fe, 10.30am local time/2.30pm Irish time
Monday, June 17 – Racecourse Stadium, Rosario or Club Old Resian, Rosario
Saturday, June 22 – Racecourse Stadium, Rosario or Club Old Resian, Rosario