The Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, are back on home turf for the third round of matches in the RBS U-20 6 Nations Championship. Italy are the visitors to Dubarry Park with Mike Ruddock’s home side looking to make it three victories on the trot.
2012 RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 24
IRELAND U-20s (1st) v ITALY U-20s (5th), Dubarry Park, Buccaneers RFC, 7.05pm (live RTÉ website)
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team has been named for their third clash of the RBS Under-20 6 Nations Championship. The side will take on their Italian counterparts at Dubarry Park on Friday.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has made a number of changes to the side that beat France 13-12 in the last round of the Championship.
Tadhg Beirne makes his first start of the campaign, partnering Iain Henderson in the second row, with a new-look back row seeing Jordan Coghlan link up with Conor Gilsenan and Jack Conan.
Changes to the backs see Foster Horan, the try scorer against France, named on the left wing and Kieran Marmion returning to the scrum half position.
Meanwhile, Italy U-20 boss Craig Green has kept faith with the majority of the side that started the 19-5 defeat in France in a rescheduled fixture.
Alex Morsellino comes in on the left wing in the only change to the Azzurrini’s back-line, replacing the injured Leonardo Sarto. Up front, Ruben Riccioli, their try scorer against the French, loses out in the back row to Vittorio Marazzi.
The rest of the pack is unchanged with Calvisano’s Giovanni Maistri installed as captain, linking up with Sami Drissi and Antonio Brandolini in the front row.
With their match against England postponed, Italy’s outing against France last Saturday was their first game in a month and Green admitted that a lack of game-time did not help his side in La Voulte.
“Overall we fought until the end (against the French) and I am satisfied with the character shown by the team,” said the former All Black.
“There’s still the regret at not having done more, we were lacking in clear-thinking but the game was a first step. There’s still four matches to go and we must grow from game to game.”
IRELAND U-20: Shane Layden (Buccaneers/Connacht); Conor Finn (Buccaneers/Connacht), Chris Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) (capt), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht); Kyle McCall (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Peter Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Jordan Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), Conor Gilsenan (UCD/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
Replacements: James Rael (Garryowen/Munster), Des Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), Jake Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), Cathal Marsh (Dublin University/Leinster), Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).
ITALY U-20: David Odiete (Rugby Reggio); Angelo Esposito (Ruggers Tarvisium), Michele Campagnaro (Rugby Mirano 1947), Andrea Bettin (Roccia Rubano), Alex Morsellino (Petrarca Padova); Riccardo Della Rossa (Marchiol Mogliano), Guido Calabrese (San Gregorio Calania); Sami Drissi (UR Capitolina), Giovanni Maistri (Cammi Calvisano) (capt), Antonio Brandolini (L’Aquila Rugby), Alfio Luca Mammana (L’Aquila Rugby), Matteo Ferro (Femi-CZ Vea Rovigo), Vittorio Marazzi (Sertori Sondrio), Federico Conforti (Petrarca Padova), Alessio Zdrilich (Ospitaletto Rugby).
Replacements: Luca Conti (UR Capitolina), Luca Scarsini (Udine Rugby), Pietro Ceccarelli (Mantovani Lazio), Ruben Riccioli (Mantovani Lazio), Andrea de Marchi (Femi-CZ Vea Rovigo), Edoardo Padovani (Marchiol Mogliano), John Apperley (Rugby Reggio), Filippo Guarducci (Marchiol Mogliano).
Referee: Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Rob Dickson, Adrian Graves (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 1/40; Draw: 60/1; Italy U-20s to win: 13/1
Pre-Match Quotes – Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s): “We are looking forward to this week’s test and in particular looking forward to backing up our two previous displays.
“We achieved victory in our last two games because we have outworked the opposition and expect the same this week along with a quality display of skills.”
Recent Meetings –
2009: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Italy U-20s 23 Ireland U-20s 29, Beltrametti Stadium, Piacenza
2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Italy U-20s 9 Ireland U-20s 28, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma