Mike Ruddock’s Ireland Under-20s are back in action in Athlone tonight, aiming to put defeats to Wales and England behind them when they host their Italian counterparts in their final home game of the Championship.
2014 RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, March 7
IRELAND UNDER-20s (4th) v ITALY UNDER-20s (5th), Dubarry Park, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only))
Team News: There are two changes to the Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, for the game against Italy at Dubarry Park on Friday.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has been forced to replace captain Dan Leavy ahead of his squad’s penultimate game of the 2014 Championship.
The influential flanker has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
Leavy is replaced in the side by Buccaneers clubman Rory Moloney and Sean O’Brien takes over the captaincy role.
There are two changes on the bench with Stephen Gardiner replacing Joe Joyce and Frankie Taggart moving to the bench in place of Michael Triggs.
Jack O’Donoghue has completed his return to play protocols and is declared fit to reclaim the number 8 jersey.
Match tickets can be purchased in advance at Buccaneers RFC and/or the Bounty and can also be bought at the turnstiles on match nights.
Stand seats generally sell out in advance of each match. Ticket prices are as follows: Stand €;20, Terrace €;15, Students/OAP €;10 and Family (two adults and two children to ground) €;30.
Group discounts are available to clubs/schools, etc. Contact Buccaneers administrator Geraldine 0861732711 (during office hours) or email email@example.com.
Meanwhile, former Italy scrum half Alessandro Troncon, who is now the head coach of the Italian Under-20s, has made two changes to the team to face Ireland.
The young Azzurri side secured their first victory of the campaign two weeks ago when they beat Scotland 32-13 in Pordenone. Full-back Alessandro Torlai scored two tries.
Yannick Agbasse replaces the injured Gabriele di Giulio on the right wing for the trip to Athlone, while Adriano Daniele takes over from Marco Silva as the starting hooker.
Ten of the players in the Italian starting line-up are members of the Ivan Francescato national Academy set-up.
IRELAND U-20: David Busby (Queen’s University/Ulster); Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster), Peter Robb (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (Galwegians/Connacht) (capt), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster).
Replacements: Sean McNulty (UCD/Munster), Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Frankie Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jack Cullen (Bruff/Munster), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College/Leinster).
ITALY U-20: Alessandro Torlai (Rugby Reggio); Yannick Agbasse (Asolo Rugby), Giacomo de Santis (UR Capitolina), Gabriele Manganiello (Petrarca Padova), Lorenzo Maria Bruno (IMA Lazio Rugby 1927); Filippo Buscema (UR Capitolina), Maicol Azzolini (Pesaro Rugby) (capt); Derrick Appiah (Marchiol Mogliano), Adriano Daniele (Pomezia-Torvaianica), Simone Pietro Ferrari (Marchiol Mogliano), Filippo Scalvi (Rugby Reggio), Riccardo Michieletto (Petrarca Padova), Marco Lazzaroni (Marchiol Mogliano), Sebastian Negri (Western Province), Federico Ruzza (Cus Padova).
Replacements: Paolo Ragazzi (Petrarca Padova), Paolo Buonfiglio (UR PratoSesto), Cherif Traore (Estra I Cavalieri Prato), Davide Zanetti (Cammi Calvisano), Matteo Archetti (Rugby Rovato), Simone Parisotto (Valsugana Rugby), Matteo Gasparini (Fiamme Oro), Matteo Gabbianelli (Pesaro Rugby).
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Nigel Carrick (both England)
Television Match Official: Rowan Kitt (England)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 1/50; Draw: 50/1; Italy U-20s to win: 20/1
Pre-Match Quotes – Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s): “The end result against England did not reflect the effort and endeavour shown by this Irish side at Franklin’s Garden.
“We must take our chances when they come along and although we did well to draw with Italy last year we would be confident that at Dubarry Park we can get the desired result.”
Pre-Match Links –
Match Facts –
– Ireland’s only victory in their last six matches at this level was against Scotland in round 1, while their last try was scored by prop Oisin Heffernan in the same game
– The Ireland Under-20s have not lost successive home games since 2011
– The Italy Under-20s ended a 17-game winless run with their victory over Scotland in round 3. They have never managed to secure successive wins in the U-20 Six Nations
– Ireland have never lost to Italy at this level, but the two sides did draw 25-all in Avezzano in round 5 last season
– Ireland out-half Ross Byrne is the fourth top points scorer in the 2014 tournament so far with 23 points (four conversions and five penalties)
– Ireland number 8 Jack O’Donoghue – the man-of-the-match against Scotland – is the joint-second top try scorer thanks to his brace in the opening round
Recent Meetings –
2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Italy U-20s 9 Ireland U-20s 28, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma
2013: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Italy U-20s 25 Ireland U-20s 25, Stadio del Marsi, Avezzano