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Six Nations Preview: France Under-20s v Ireland Under-20s

Six Nations Preview: France Under-20s v Ireland Under-20s

The Ireland Under-20s are hoping to maintain their winning form in the Six Nations by overcoming a highly regarded France team in Grenoble. The hosts were idle last weekend following the postponement of their opening tie against Italy.

2012 RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, February 11

FRANCE U-20s v IRELAND U-20s, Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, 3pm local time/2pm Irish time (live RTÉ website)

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Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team (sponsored by PwC) has been named for their second clash of the RBS Under-20 6 Nations Championship. The side will take on their French counterparts at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on Saturday.

Ireland Under-20 head coach Mike Ruddock has brought three new faces into the side that won their opening game, beating Wales 11-6 last weekend in Athlone.

Conor Finn has been brought into the side to replace Barry Daly on the right wing. Daly received a broken thumb in the clash with Wales and underwent surgery on Sunday. He is expected to be out of action for six weeks.

Diarmuid Higgins has been brought into the squad and will take his place on the bench, replacing Jake Cawley who took a knock during last Friday’s game and is unavailable for selection this week.

Prop Cawley is due to be available for selection for the upcoming match against Italy.

Chris Farrell has been promoted from the bench to outside centre along with scrum half Luke McGrath, with the pair making their first starts of the Championship. Foster Horan and Kieran Marmion are the players to make way.

RTÉ will provide live web-only coverage of the Ireland U-20s’ clash with France on Saturday afternoon. Click here to watch (island of Ireland only).

Meanwhile, the France Under-20s will be eager for game-time after their opening fixture with Italy was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

With legendary lock Fabien Pelous their manager, the French youngsters are well drilled and will look to create a solid platform up front from which to unleash their backs.

There are two changes in the back-line from the team originally selected to play Italy. Julien Farnoux makes way for Darly Domvo at full-back and the inside centre spot has gone to Montpellier’s Ilian Perraux, who replaces the benched Fabrice Catala.

FRANCE U-20: Darly Domvo (USB-CABBG); Jean-Yves Zebango (RC Toulon), Jonathan Danty (Stade Français), Ilian Perraux (Montpellier HRC), Yohann Artru (Montpellier HRC); Clément Otazo (Aviron Bayonnais), Tom Ecochard (USA Perpignan) (capt); Jefferson Poirot (CA Brive-Corrèze), Raphaël Carbou (USA Perpignan), Florian Fresia (RC Toulon), Bastien Chalureau (Stade Toulousain), Paul Jedrasiak (AS Clermont Auvergne), Kelian Galletier (Montpellier HRC), Julien Kazubek (AS Clermont Auvergne), Karl Chateau (Stade Toulousain).

Replacements: Christopher Tolofua (Stade Toulousain), Pascal Cotet (USA Perpignan), Jean-Baptiste Custoja (USA Perpignan), Andrew Chauveau (USB-CABBG), Johan Aliouat (Montpellier HRC), Eric Escande (Montpellier HRC), Fabrice Catala (USA Perpignan), Julien Farnoux (AS Clermont Auvergne).

IRELAND U-20: Shane Layden (Buccaneers/Connacht); Conor Finn (Buccaneers/Connacht), Chris Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Sam Coghlan Murray (UCD/Leinster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) (capt), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster); Kyle McCall (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Peter Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s UniversityUlster), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht), Conor Gilsenan (UCD/Leinster), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).

Replacements: Des Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), James Rael (Garryowen/Munster), Diarmuid Higgins (Buccaneers/Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jordan Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Cathal Marsh (Dublin University/Leinster), Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster).

Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas, Chris Williams (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): France U-20s to win: 2/7; Draw: 22/1; Ireland U-20s to win: 13/5

Pre-Match Quotes – Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s): “We know we have to keep working on our set piece. Our scrum and lineout can go up a level. We can get our alignment better and get our passes away and that will make a big difference.

“I thought our performance against Wales was 10 out of 10 for intent, but just seven out of 10 for execution, so there is room for improvement.

“Paddy (Jackson) showed great professionalism to take the responsibility on his shoulders (and kick the drop goal) after missing a few kicks. He showed mental toughness to do that. Full credit to him.”

Recent Meetings –

2009: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 9 France U-20s 6, Dubarry Park

2010: RBS U-20 6 Nations: France U-20s 20 Ireland U-20s 15, Stade de la Chevaliere, Mazamet; IRB Junior World Championship Pool B: Ireland U-20s 22 France U-20s 25, Estadio El Coloso del Parque, Rosario

2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 13 Ireland U-20s 38, Dubarry Park