Jump to main content


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

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

The Ireland Under-20s are back on home turf for their second match in this season’s RBS U-20 6 Nations, with France the visitors to ‘fortress’ Dubarry Park in Athlone.

2011 RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 11

IRELAND U-20s (2nd) v FRANCE U-20s (1st), Dubarry Park, 7.45pm (live RTÉ Two)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been announced for Friday’s match against France. Head coach Mike Ruddock has made nine changes to the squad from last week’s win in Italy.

The changes include five new faces in the starting line-up and three new players in the replacements.

Michael Sherlock will start at full-back with Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran, a member of last year’s Under-20 squad, named on the right wing.

Nathaniel McDonald comes in at centre to partner Alex Kelly, with Ulster duo Paddy Jackson and Blane McIlroy getting their second start together as Ireland’s half-back combination.

A new-look back row sees David Heffernan start at blindside flanker, with Aaron Conneely at openside flanker and Jordi Murphy moving to number 8.

David O’Mahony starts in the second row alongside local boy Daniel Qualter, while the injured Martin Moore is replaced by Conor Carey in the front row.

Shane Buckley, James McKinney, who played throughout the 2010 campaign, and JJ Hanrahan have all been included on the replacements bench.

Cash will be taken at the turnstiles but tickets can be bought in advance at Musicworld, Golden Island Shopping Centre, or at the Bounty.

Friday’s match in Athlone will broadcast live on RTE Two, with coverage starting at 7.30pm. France currently top the table following their 49-5 defeat of Scotland last week, with Ruddock’s side in second place.

The Irish youngsters started their campaign with a 28-9 victory over Italy in Parma.

Meanwhile, France travel to Ireland on the back of a six-try 49-5 triumph over Scotland in Caen in their Championship opener. Kevin Gimeno, William Demotte, Walter Desmaison, Marvin O’Connor, Pierre Julien and Jules Plisson were the try scorers.

The French management, led by manager Philippe Sella and coaches David Aucagne and Philippe Boher, have altered their team from last week.

Jean Buttin and Thibaut Visensang drop to the replacements, allowing Geoffrey Palis and Jules Plisson to come in at full-back and inside centre respectively. Yann Lesgourgues also gets the nod over Laurent Magnaval at scrum half.

The selected pack is unchanged from the Scottish game, and 19-year-old Toulouse out-half Jean-Marc Doussain, who captains the side, will look to pull the strings as he did in the opening round win. He finished with a 15-point haul – three conversions and three penalties.

Doussain is one of few players back from last year’s French side. He landed four penalties in France’s 25-22 IRB Junior World Championship win over Ireland in Argentina last summer.

IRELAND U-20: Michael Sherlock (Clontarf/Leinster); Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht), Alex Kelly (UCD/Leinster), Nathaniel McDonald (Exile), Andrew Boyle (UCD/Leinster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Blane McIlroy (Ballymena/Ulster); James Tracy (UCD/Leinster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Conor Carey (Ballymena/Ulster), David O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht), David Heffernan (Lansdowne/Connacht), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster).

Replacements: David Doyle (UCD/Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Exile), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Shane Buckley (Garryowen/Munster), Peter du Toit (UCD/Leinster), James McKinney (Queen’s University/Ulster), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster).

FRANCE U-20: Geoffrey Palis (Albi); Pierre Bérard (Montpellier), Jean-Pascal Barraque (Biarritz Olympique), Jules Plisson (Stade Francais), Marvin O’Connor (Grenoble); Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse) (capt), Yann Lesgourgues (Biarritz Olympique); Sebastien Taofifenua (Perpignan), Romain Colliat (Castres Olympique), Walter Desmaison (Bayonne), William Demotte (Clermont Auvergne), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Brive), Kevin Gimeno (Montpellier), Julien Come (Racing Metro 92), Gillian Galan (Toulouse).

Replacements: Clement Bourgeois (Pau), Victor Delmas (Colomiers), Mathias Marie (Biarritz Olympique), Pierre Julien (Agen), Laurent Magnaval (Toulon), Thibaut Visensang (Bayonne), Jean Buttin (Clermont Auvergne).

Referee: Stefano Traversi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini, Matteo Liperini (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Stefano Marrama (Italy)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 4/5; Draw: 19/1; France U-20s to win: Evens

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Mike Ruddock

Irish Rugby TV: Eoin McKeon And Daniel Qualter

Irish Rugby TV: Niall Annett

Recent Meetings –

2008: RBS U-20 6 Nations: France U-20s 24 Ireland U-20s 13, Stadium Jacques Fouroux, Auch

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