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Crothers Captains Ireland Under-20s For Summer Series Opener

Crothers Captains Ireland Under-20s For Summer Series Opener

Ireland Under-20 captain Reuben Crothers will lead the team into battle against familiar rivals France in Verona ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Head coach Richie Murphy has announced the Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, for Friday night’s U-20 Six Nations Summer Series opener against France at the Payanini Centre in Verona (kick-off 7pm Irish time, live on the Six Nations YouTube channel).

Ulster back rower Reuben Crothers will captain Ireland for the opening game of the tournament, with Murphy including 14 players who featured during the Grand Slam-winning campaign in his starting XV for the clash with les Bleuets tomorrow.

Young Munster winger Shay McCarthy will make his Ireland Under-20 debut in the back-three, where he is joined by Dylan O’Grady and Aitzol King, the two-try hero against England in March.

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Fionn Gibbons, an outstanding performer for Ireland during the 2022 Championship, partners Daniel Hawkshaw in midfield, with Munster Academy duo Tony Butler and Ethan Coughlan filling the half-back berths.

In the pack, Oisin Michel, James McCormick and Shannon’s Darragh McSweeney join forces the front row. The ever-present Conor O’Tighearnaigh is joined in the engine room by Adam McNamee.

James McNabney, one of five members of this year’s Ireland U-19 squad included, Crothers and Lorcan McLoughlin complete the first Ireland starting line-up of the Summer Series.

Murphy has plenty of options on the bench with teams allowed to name an extended matchday squad of 26 players for the tournament in Italy.

IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v France Under-20s, Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series – Pool A, Payanini Rugby Centre, Friday, June 24, kick-off 8pm local time/7pm Irish time):

15. Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC/Leinster)
14. Aitzol King (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
13. Fionn Gibbons (UCD RFC/Leinster)
12. Daniel Hawkshaw (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
11. Shay McCarthy (Young Munster RFC/Munster)
10. Tony Butler (Garryowen FC/Munster)
9. Ethan Coughlan (Shannon RFC/Munster)
1. Oisin Michel (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
2. James McCormick (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
3. Darragh McSweeney (Shannon RFC/Munster)
4. Conor O’Tighearnaigh (UCD RFC/Leinster)
5. Adam McNamee (Malone RFC/Ulster)
6. James McNabney (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
7. Reuben Crothers (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster) (capt)
8. Lorcan McLoughlin (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)


16. Josh Hanlon (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
17. George Hadden (Gorey RFC/Clontarf FC/Leinster)
18. Kieran Ryan (Shannon RFC/Munster)
19. Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
20. Diarmuid Mangan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
21. Michael Moloney (UCD RFC/Leinster)
22. Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
23. George Coomber (UCC RFC/Munster)
24. Reece Malone (Loughborough University/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
25. George Shaw (Cardiff University/IQ Rugby)
26. Ronan O’Sullivan (Highfield RFC/Munster)