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Ireland Under-20 Team Named For First Challenge Match

Ireland Under-20 Team Named For First Challenge Match

Recent Ulster debutant Joe Hopes will start in the back row for the Ireland Under-20s against Italy at the UCD Bowl ©INPHO/Manuel Blondeau

The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, has been announced for today’s uncapped challenge match against Italy Under-20s at the UCD Bowl (kick-off 2pm).

After a series of camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre, head coach Richie Murphy has selected an extended squad of 26 players for this afternoon’s run-out in Belfield, as preparations step up a gear for the 2024 Under-20 Six Nations.

Four players who featured during last year’s Grand Slam-winning campaign and second place finish at the World U-20 Championship in South Africa are named to start – Danny Sheahan at hooker, Evan O’Connell in the second row, Joe Hopes at blindside flanker, and captain Hugh Gavin in midfield.

The match against international opposition provides Murphy and his coaching staff with an invaluable opportunity to give players game-time in a green jersey, while building important cohesion and connections in advance of further festive fixtures against the Munster Development and Leinster Development teams.

The Ireland Under-20s open their Six Nations campaign against France in Aix-en-Provence on Saturday, February 3, before hosting Italy in their first home match at Musgrave Park the following Friday. Tickets are now available to purchase here from Ticketmaster.ie.

IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v Italy Under-20s, Under-20 Challenge Match, UCD Bowl, Friday, December 15, kick-off 2pm):

15. Tom Larke (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
14. Finn Treacy (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
13. Hugh Gavin (Galwegians RFC/Connacht) (capt)
12. Wilhelm de Klerk (UCD RFC/Leinster)
11. Ethan Graham (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
10. Jack Murphy (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
9. Oliver Coffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
1. Alex Usanov (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
2. Danny Sheahan (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
3. Andrew Sparrow (UCD RFC/Leinster)
4. Mikey O’Reilly (Terenure College RFC/Leinster)
5. Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
6. Joe Hopes (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
7. Max Flynn (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
8. Bryn Ward (Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)


16. Stephen Smyth (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
17. Jacob Boyd (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
18. Flynn Longstaff (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
19. Billy Corrigan (Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
20. Sean Edogbo (UCC RFC/Munster)
21. Will Wootton (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
22. Sean Naughton (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
23. Jules Fenelon (Dublin University FC/Leinster)
24. Patreece Bell (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
25. Richard Whelan (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
26. Luke Kritzinger (UCD RFC/Leinster)