Head coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland Umder-20 team (sponsored by PwC) for Thursday’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship game against Australia in Paarl (kick-off 11am local time/10am Irish time).
There are four changes to the side from last Saturday’s opening Pool B draw with England, as James Nicholson, Ronan Foxe, Charlie Irvine and Brian Gleeson come into the starting XV.
Nicholson is named on the left wing as part of the back-three with Henry McErlean and Andrew Osborne, while Connacht duo Hugh Gavin and John Devine formed the centre partnership. Sam Prendergast and Fintan Gunne continue in the half-backs.
In the pack, Paddy McCarthy moves across the front row to loosehead prop, with captain Gus McCarthy at hooker and Old Belvedere’s Foxe handed his U-20 international debut at tighthead.
Irvine comes into the side to partner Conor O’Tighearnaigh in the engine room, and James McNabney, Ruadhan Quinn and Gleeson, who had a second half cameo against England, make up the back row.
On the bench, Danny Sheahan, George Morris, Fiachna Barrett, Evan O’Connell and Diarmuid Mangan provide the forward options, with scrum half Jack Oliver set to win his first U-20 cap. Harry West and Rory Telfer complete the matchday 23.
Speaking ahead of his squad’s second pool fixture in South Africa, Murphy said: “It has been a quick turnaround from Saturday but we were able to turn the page positively, and learn from our first outing of the tournament.
“We know the very nature of this World Rugby U-20 Championship is that the big games come thick and fast, and facing the Junior Wallabies is another huge test for our group. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Thursday’s meeting of Ireland and Australia is live on Virgin Media Two in Republic of Ireland and on World Rugby platforms where there is no local broadcaster.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v Australia Under-20s, 2023 World Rugby U-20 Championship Pool B, Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl, South Africa, Thursday, June 29, kick-off 11am local time/10am Irish time):
15. Henry McErlean (Terenure College RFC/Leinster)
14. Andrew Osborne (Naas RFC/Leinster)
13. Hugh Gavin (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
12. John Devine (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
11. James Nicholson (UCD RFC/Leinster)
10. Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
9. Fintan Gunne (Terenure College RFC/Leinster)
1. Paddy McCarthy (Dublin University FC/Leinster)
2. Gus McCarthy (UCD RFC/Leinster) (capt)
3. Ronan Foxe (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) *
4. Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
5. Conor O’Tighearnaigh (UCD RFC/Leinster)
6. James McNabney (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
7. Ruadhan Quinn (Old Crescent RFC/Munster)
8. Brian Gleeson (Garryowen FC/Munster)
16. Danny Sheahan (UCC RFC/Munster)
17. George Morris (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
18. Fiachna Barrett (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
19. Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemians RFC/Munster)
20. Diarmuid Mangan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
21. Jack Oliver (Garryowen FC/Munster)
22. Harry West (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
23. Rory Telfer (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
* Denotes uncapped player at Under-20 level