A much-changed Ireland Under-20 team will take to the pitch in Cape Town this afternoon as they fight it out for the top placings in IRB Junior World Championship Pool B. With England and South Africa having posted bonus point wins over Italy, Mike Ruddock’s youngsters will be hoping to do likewise in their final pool game.
2012 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: POOL B: Tuesday, June 12
IRELAND U-20s v ITALY U-20s, Cape Town Stadium, 2.45pm local time/1.45pm Irish time (live TG4)
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to play Italy in their third and final pool match of the IRB Junior World Championship has been named.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has made nine changes in personnel to the side that started against England last time.
James Rael and Peter Reilly join Des Merrey in the front row, while Alan O’Connor, another new starter, will partner Iain Henderson in the second row.
Aaron Conneely and Josh van der Flier have been added to the back row alongside regular number 8 Jack Conan who will captain the team.
Mike Sherlock has been named at full-back with Conor Finn selected on the right wing and Peter Nelson moving from full-back to centre where he links up with his Dungannon club-mate Chris Farrell.
Luke McGrath and Jack Carty, who plays for Buccaneers like Finn, will combine at half-back, with the pair making their first starts of the Junior World Championship.
Commenting on the team selection, Ruddock said: “We have had two extremely physical battles against South Africa and England and we felt we needed to freshen the team up.
“A number of players are carrying bumps and bruises and it provides opportunities for other squad members to step up and take their chance.”
This fixture has been moved from Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch to Cape Town Stadium. TG4 will carry live coverage of the game on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Italy Under-20 boss Craig Green has made wholesale changes to the side that lost 52-3 to tournament hosts South Africa last time out.
The Italians have suffered two heavy defeats in the pool stages to date, and there was another setback for them when disciplinary action saw their winger Leonardo Sarto hit with a five-week ban following an incident in the South African game.
There are ten changes in all with David Odiete making his Junior World Championship debut at full-back and experienced captain Giovanni Maistri, a hooker who played in last year’s tournament, having to cover at loosehead prop.
IRELAND U-20: Mike Sherlock (Clontarf/Leinster); Conor Finn (Buccaneers/Connacht), Peter Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster), Chris Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), Sam Coghlan Murray (UCD/Leinster); Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster); Des Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), James Rael (Garryowen/Munster), Peter Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Alan O’Connor (UCD/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) (capt).
Replacements: Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Jake Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Shane Buckley (Garryowen/Munster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Cathal Marsh (Dublin University/Leinster), Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).
ITALY U-20: David Odiete (Rugby Reggio); Alex Morsellino (Petrarca Padova), Giovanni Benvenuti (Marchiol Mogliano), Andrea Bettin (Rubano Rugby), Filippo Guarducci (Marchiol Mogliano); Edoardo Padovani (Marchiol Mogliano), Guido Calabrese (San Gregorio Catania); Giovanni Maistri (Cammi Calvisano) (capt), Giovanni Scalvi (Rugby Reggio), Leonardo Bortoletti (Rubano Rugby), Marco Bellucci (Rugby Emergenti Cecina), Alfio Luca Mammana (L’Aquila Rugby), Ruben Riccioli (Mantovani Lazio), Guglielmo Zanini (M-Three San Donà), Vittorio Marazzi (Sertori Sondrio).
Replacements: Luca Conti (Udine Rugby), Sami Drissi-Panico (UR Capitolina), Pietro Ceccarelli (Stade Rochelais), Alessio Zdrilich (Ospitaletto Rugby), Federico Conforti (Petrarca Padova), Marcello Violi (Rugby Reggio), John Apperley (Rugby Reggio), Giulio Bisegni (Mantovani Lazio).
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Joey Salmans, Quinton Immelman (both South Africa)
Television Match Official: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 1/200; Draw: 66/1; Italy U-20s to win: 25/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s) – “I said to the guys afterwards (the England match) that while we’re highly disappointed – we had an opportunity there that we let slip – but we are still in the tournament.
“It’s going to come right down to points difference, I guess. There is a big shoot-out to come from England and South Africa. That’s a massive game.
“We have to try and beat Italy as well, who are scrambling for their lives and looking to cause an upset. They won’t want to lose three matches and will be fired up (not to do so).”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Italy U-20s 9 Ireland U-20s 28, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma
2012: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 27 Italy U-20s 8, Dubarry Park