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

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

Ireland Under-20 teams are unbeaten at Dubarry Park since 2011, and Mike Ruddock’s current crop will seek to extend that five-match winning streak when they host Scotland in tonight’s Six Nations opener.

2014 RBS UNDER-20 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, January 31

IRELAND UNDER-20s v SCOTLAND UNDER-20s, Dubarry Park, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two/RTÉ website (island of Ireland only))

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Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to face Scotland at Dubarry Park on Friday night has been announced by head coach Mike Ruddock.

The selected side contains two players from the extended squad who gained Under-20 Six Nations experience last year – Lansdowne prop Peter Dooley and flanker Peadar Timmins from UCD.

UCD openside Dan Leavy will captain the side while his club colleague, out-half Ross Byrne, is installed as vice captain.

Ruddock commented: “We narrowly lost to Scotland last year so we are aware of the challenge ahead of us.

“This group have gathered a lot of valuable game-time with their clubs and provinces, so the group have high hopes of delivering a strong performance on Friday.”

Friday’s opening fixture of the U-20 Championship will be broadcast live on RTÉ Two and rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only).

Full match ticket information is available here, and details of the pre-match offerings at Buccaneers RFC are available here.

Meanwhile, Scotland Under-20 head coach Sean Lineen has opted for a range of experience in his team, with four of the starting line-up – captain Tommy Spinks, props James Malcolm and D’arcy Rae and centre Damien Hoyland – involved in last year’s 21-20 win over the Irish at Netherdale.

There are a number of newcomers to the squad this season, including the most recent recruit – Ben Chalmers who will start in the number 10 jersey.

Spinks, who will lead the Scots from openside, said: “When I was involved in the squad last year we had a great captain in Jonny Gray who combined all the elements of leadership with his ability on the field.

“Leadership is obviously a massive part of the role, to be someone that players can look to in challenging times, and I’m looking forward to taking that responsibility.

“We expect Ireland to come out firing. We showed last year that we can beat them and if we stick to our game-plan, I’m sure we can bring it to them again.”

IRELAND U-20: David Busby (Queen’s University/Ulster); Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Peter Robb (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/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), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster).

Replacements: Shane Delahunt (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jacob Walshe (Buccaneers/Connacht), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Joe Joyce (Bristol/Exiles), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Jack Cullen (Bruff/Munster), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster).

SCOTLAND U-20: Gavin Lowe (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors); Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh), Damien Hoyland (Melrose), Neil Herron (Glasgow Hawks), Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies); Ben Chalmers (Melrose), Murdo McAndrew (Clermont Auvergne); James Malcolm (Ayr), Sam James (London Wasps), D’arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors), Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar), Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons), Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh), Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) (capt), Buchan Richardson (London Scottish).

Replacements: Ross Graham (Hawick), Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh), Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors), Lewis Carmicheal (Melrose), Neil Irvine-Hess (Watsonians/Edinburgh), Ben Vellacott (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury), Ben Cooper (Boroughmuir), Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies).

Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Filippo Bertelli, Gianluigi Rossi (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Alan Falzone (Italy)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 1/6; Draw: 22/1; Scotland U-20s to win: 7/2

Pre-Match Quotes – Dan Leavy (Ireland U-20s): “We’ve had various camps over the last couple of months and two warm-up games just to get together as a team.

“We’re gelling quite well, there’s a lot of talent in the squad and we’re really just raring to go over the next few weeks.

“We’ve five or six players back from last year’s U-20 squad which is pretty good, we only had two or three back the previous season. It’s good for the team in terms of experience and leadership.

“I’m thrilled to be captain, it’s something that I’ve been aiming towards for years. To be named captain is a big honour for myself personally.

“Obviously we’re going to try to improve on last year’s (third place) finish, taking it one game at a time. Scotland at home first is going to be a good challenge for us, and then Wales at home the following week.

“Hopefully if we get two wins on the trot, we’ll start building for the rest of the competition.”

Sean Lineen (Scotland U-20s): “Mike Ruddock’s been there a while as head coach and he’s done a great job. The Irish youth system is strong, through their clubs and schools, and they’re pretty hardy lads, tough and aggressive.

“We have to match them physically and, defensively, be a bit more clever in where and how we play.

“It’s always a cracking game against Ireland, and we know they’ll want to get one back on us this year but we’re looking forward to it – this is what representing Scotland is all about.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Mike Ruddock

Irish Rugby TV: Dan Leavy

Irish Rugby TV: David Busby

Irish Rugby TV: Ireland Under-20s v Leinster Development XV Highlights

Match Facts –

– Ireland are attempting to win a first Championship since 2010 after finishing in eighth place in the recent IRB Junior World Championship

– Ireland have won their last five home games in the Under-20 Six Nations, all played in Athlone, since England beat them there in 2011

– Scotland last season equalled their best ever finish (fourth) in the Under-20 Six Nations since it began in 2007. They were 10th at the recent IRB Junior World Championship

– Scotland’s only two away wins in the U-20 Six Nations have both been in Italy (in 2010 and 2012)

– Scotland beat Ireland 21-20 last season at Galashiels to end a five-match losing run against Ireland

Recent Meetings –

2011: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Scotland U-20s 0 Ireland U-20s 15, Tulloch Stadium, Inverness; IRB Junior World Championship Pool C: Ireland U-20s 30 Scotland U-20s 13, Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo

2012: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Ireland U-20s 26 Scotland U-20s 0, Dubarry Park

2013: RBS U-20 6 Nations: Scotland U-20s 21 Ireland U-20s 20, Netherdale