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Junior World Championship Preview: Ireland Under-20s v England Under-20s

Junior World Championship Preview: Ireland Under-20s v England Under-20s

It could be a case of third time lucky for the Ireland Under-20s when they meet regular rivals England for a place in the 5th-6th place play-off at the IRB Junior World Championship. Revenge will certainly be on their minds after two earlier defeats to the English.


IRELAND U-20s v ENGLAND U-20s, University of Western Cape Stadium, 5pm local time/4pm Irish time (live TG4)

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Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to play England in the IRB Junior World Championship play-offs has been named.

Six Nations opponents Ireland and England met previously in the pool stages in South Africa, with the English staging a second half comeback to take a 20-15 win.

For this weekend’s rematch, the Irish management have made a total of nine changes in personnel and two positional switches.

A number of players have been brought back into the starting line-up having been on the bench or out of the squad for last Tuesday’s 41-12 defeat of Italy.

Peter Nelson, who scored two tries against the Italians, reverts to the full-back position, while Barry Daly joins Foster Horan to complete the back-three.

Stuart Olding will make his first start of the tournament, joining Chris Farrell in the centre, and leading scorer JJ Hanrahan and Kieran Marmion return to the team at out-half and scrum half respectively.

Captain Niall Scannell and Tadhg Furlong resume up front, joining Des Merrey in the same front row that started against South Africa and England in the pool stages.

Tadhg Beirne has been named alongside Alan O’Connor in the second row with regular lock Iain Henderson moved to blindside flanker where he takes over from Aaron Conneely.

Jordan Coghlan and number 8 Jack Conan, who captained Ireland against Italy, complete the back row trio. There is still one place to be filled among the replacements.

Meanwhile, England Under-20 head coach Rob Hunter has made nine changes to the side that lost out to South Africa in their final pool game.

England are bidding for a hat-trick of wins over Ireland this year, having beaten Ruddock’s charges 20-9 in a Six Nations Grand Slam decider and also taken the spoils in the recent Pool B clash.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how the lads react (to the defeat to South Africa). We’ve freshened the side up and the lads are keen to get back on the pitch and play some rugby,” explained Hunter.

IRELAND U-20: Peter Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster); Barry Daly (UCD/Leinster), Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Chris Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster); JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht); Des Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) (capt), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Alan O’Connor (UCD/Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Jordan Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).

Replacements: James Rael (Garryowen/Munster), Peter Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jake Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), AN Other, Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht), Mike Sherlock (Clontarf/Leinster).

ENGLAND U-20: Ben Ransom (Saracens); Will Addison (Sale Sharks), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Ryan Mills (Gloucester), Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues); Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens); Alec Hepburn (London Wasps), Nathan Morris (London Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie), George Merrick (Harlequins), David Sisi (London Irish), Chris Walker (Leeds Carnegie) (capt), Jack Clifford (Harlequins).

Replacements: Max Crumpton (Saracens), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (London Wasps), Ben Nutley (Northampton Saints), Dan Robson (Gloucester), Tommy Bell (London Wasps), Marland Yarde (London Irish).

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Television Match Official: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 11/4; Draw: 22/1; England U-20s to win: 1/4

Pre-Match Quotes: JJ Hanrahan (Ireland U-20s) – “The difference between winning and losing a game at this level is on a knife-edge, and that was certainly the case in our pool match against England. We let our intensity dip in the second half and England took full advantage.

“We need to look after our own individual performances for the entirely of the match, and I am in no doubt that the team performance will come as we are a tight-knit squad.

“Our main priorities throughout the tournament have been the contact area, both in attack and defence with a low tackle focus. We performed this well for the first 50 minutes against England last time but know we have to put in an 80-minute performance on Sunday.”

Chris Walker (England U-20s) – “The conditions were pretty poor last time we played each other. Hopefully on a dry patch we’ll be able to play more of an expansive game, but this will be the third time we’ve played the Irish this year and we know what a good side they are.

“They pushed us hard a week ago and we’re looking forward to going out there and giving it our best.

“We were pretty down after the loss against South Africa but good teams learn from their defeats and we’re hoping to bounce back against Ireland.”

Pre-Match Links –

We’ll Approach Play-Offs With Confidence – Conan

Match Highlights: Ireland U-20s 41 Italy U-20s 12

Match Highlights: England U-20s 20 Ireland U-20s 15

Match Highlights: South Africa U-20s 19 Ireland U-20s 23

2012 IRB Junior World Championship

Recent Meetings –

2010: RBS U-20 6 Nations: England U-20s 10 Ireland U-20s 25, Kingsholm, Gloucester RFC; IRB Junior World Championship Pool B: England U-20s 36 Ireland U-20s 21, Estadio El Coloso del Parque, Rosario

2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 15 England U-20s 46, Dubarry Park; IRB Junior World Championship Pool C: England U-20s 33 Ireland U-20s 25, Stadio di Monigo, Treviso

2012: RBS U-20 6 Nations: England U-20s 20 Ireland U-20s 9, Adams Park; IRB Junior World Championship Pool B: England U-20s 20 Ireland U-20s 15, Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch

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