The Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, will get an opportunity to play on the hallowed turf of Eden Park when they meet tournament hosts New Zealand in Friday’s 3rd/4th place play-off at the IRB Junior World Championship.
2014 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – 3RD/4TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Friday, June 20
NEW ZEALAND UNDER-20s v IRELAND UNDER-20s, Eden Park, Auckland, 5.05pm local time/6.05am Irish time (live TG4/Sky Sports 1 HD/highlights TG4, 8.30pm)
Team News: Ireland Under-20 head coach Mike Ruddock has made five personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that lost to England in last Sunday’s semi-final.
Team captain Jack O’Donoghue has been ruled out of the play-off game as he continues to observe to the ‘return to play’ concussion protocols. His back row colleague Peadar Timmins will skipper Ireland in his absence.
The back row sees Timmins joined by openside flanker Rory Moloney with Frankie Taggart moving to number 8.
Dylan Donnellan and Oisin Heffernan will make their first starts of the tournament after impressing off the bench against England. They join Peter Dooley in the front row with Darragh Moloney named in the second row alongside Ross Moloney.
In the only change to the Irish back-line, Terenure College clubman Harrison Brewer will start in the centre alongside Junior Player of the Year nominee Garry Ringrose (voting details here).
Meanwhile, New Zealand Under-20 boss Chris Boyd has made just one personnel change to the side that lost to South Africa (32-25) in the last-four. Matt Peni comes in at number 8 with Tom Sanders switching to the blindside flanker role.
Boyd and John Plumtree, whose departure as Ireland senior forwards coach was recently announced, will coach Super 15 side the Hurricanes next season. The pair previously worked together at the Wellington Lions and the Sharks in South Africa.
NEW ZEALAND U-20: Damian McKenzie; Vincent Tavae-Aso, Anton Lienert-Brown (capt), TJ Faiane, Tevita Li; Richard Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond; Atunaisa Moli, Hame Faiva, Tau Koloamatangi, James Tucker, Geoffrey Cridge, Tom Sanders, Lachlan Boshier, Matt Peni.
Replacements: James O’Reilly, Scott Mellow, Tim Cadwallader, Troy Callander, Kyle Harris, Josh Renton, Kaveinga Finau, David Kaetau Havili.
IRELAND U-20: Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College/Leinster), Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dylan Donnellan (UCD/Leinster), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Darragh Moloney (Cork Constitution/Munster), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Frankie Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).
Replacements: Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Foley (Cork Constitution/Munster), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster).
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)
Television Match Official: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): New Zealand U-20s to win: 1/14; Draw: 35/1; Ireland U-20s to win: 13/2
Pre-Match Quotes – Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s): “Trying to defeat a New Zealand team at Eden Park is a formidable challenge for any Irish team but we will give it our best shot.”
Chris Boyd (New Zealand U-20s): “Our focus this week has been on reviewing that game (against South Africa) and there were some good lessons in that for us.
“We’ve had a good break and the task has been to get up for the match against Ireland. We want to play well against them and to finish our campaign on a high note.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meeting –
2013: IRB Junior World Championship – Pool B: New Zealand U-20s 31 Ireland U-20s 26, Stade de la Rabine, Vannes