An elusive first win of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship is the prize on offer for both the Ireland and Scotland U-20s in Perpignan this afternoon, as they look to right the wrongs of unsuccessful pool campaigns.
2018 WORLD RUGBY UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP – 9TH-12TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Tuesday, June 12
IRELAND UNDER-20s (4th, Pool C) v SCOTLAND UNDER-20s (4th, Pool B), Stade Aimé-Giral, Perpignan, 4pm local time/3pm Irish time (live eir Sport 2/World Rugby live streaming in certain countries)
Team News: Head coach Noel McNamara has made five personnel changes to the Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to play Scotland in today’s 9th-12th place play-off in Perpignan.
The Ireland Under-20s defeated Scotland 30-25 at Donnybrook during this year’s U-20 Six Nations, and are aiming to back up that result after losing their three World Rugby U-20 Championship pool games to hosts France (26-24), South Africa (30-17) and Georgia (24-20).
Michael Silvester, a try scorer against South Africa, and Harry Byrne, who scored 16 points during the Pool C campaign, return at full-back and out-half respectively, with the rejigged back-line seeing centres James Hume and Tommy O’Brien move to the wings, and Sean O’Brien and Peter Sylvester pair up in a new midfield combination.
Dublin University tighthead Joe Byrne, who made his Ireland U-20 debut off the bench against the French, comes in for his first start, joining Jordan Duggan and Diarmuid Barron who have been ever-present in the front row throughout the tournament.
Matthew Dalton and Jack Dunne are retained as the second row pairing, while Ulster duo Joe Dunleavyand Matthew Agnew resume alongside captain Caelan Doris, as the starting back row from the France and South Africa matches is restored.
As the Ireland U-20s chase a win to secure their World Rugby U-20 Championship place for next season, McNamara said: “We had three tough pool games and while there were lots of positives to take from the games, unfortunately they weren’t reflected on the scoreboard.
“Scotland will present another big challenge for the team. Having played them in the Under-20 Six Nations earlier this season and also in a warm-up fixture in Edinburgh ahead of this tournament, we know what to expect from them.”
Ulster Academy back Michael Lowry has replaced the injured Peter Sullivan in the extended Ireland U-20 squad. The winners of this afternoon’s clash, which will be broadcast live on eir Sport 2 in the Republic of Ireland and online in non-geo blocked locations via World Rugby’s Facebook page and website, will face either Georgia or Japan next Sunday. For more information on the tournament, click here.
Meanwhile, the Scotland Under-20 side selected by head coach Bryan Redpath sees the return of several experienced squad members, while only five players remain in the starting XV from the 35-10 pool defeat to England last Thursday.
The inclusion of Ayr full-back Paddy Dewhirst is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-three as Stirling County’s Logan Trotter reverts back his more familiar position of wing alongside Kyle Rowe, who keeps his place on the opposite flank after crossing the whitewash against England.
Captain Stafford McDowall returns in midfield to partner Currie Chieftains centre Cameron Hutchison, while a fresh half-back pairing sees stand-off Callum McLelland link up with Gloucester’s Charlie Chapman.
Ayr’s Robbie Smith once again gets the nod at hooker and will pack down with Finlay Richardson and Leicester Tigers’ Sam Grahamslaw in the front row. A revamped lock pairing sees Jamie Hodgson team up with Marshall Sykes, and Northampton’s Devnante Onojaife is named at number 8, flanked by Rory Darge and Martin Hughes.
Tickets for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, which showcases the future stars of world rugby, are on sale via www.ffr.fr, www.ticketmaster.fr and www.francebillet.com with prices reflecting the FFR’s ambition to attract new fans to the sport. Tickets for the first positional play-off round range from €;5 to €;25, while tickets for the finals day range from €;15 to €;35.
IRELAND U-20: Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster); James Hume (Banbridge/Ulster), Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Peter Sylvester (UCC/Munster), Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster); Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Hugh O’Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster); Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster), Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen/Munster), Joe Byrne (Dublin University/Leinster), Matthew Dalton (Malone/Ulster), Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster), Joe Dunleavy (Malone/Ulster), Matthew Agnew (Ballymena/Ulster), Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt).
Replacements: Dan Sheehan (Dublin University/Leinster), Bryan O’Connor (UCC/Munster), Jakub Wojtkowicz (Sligo/Connacht), Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), Jack Daly (Garryowen/Munster), Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster), Conor Dean (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Tom Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster).
SCOTLAND U-20: Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr); Logan Trotter (Stirling County), Cameron Hutchison (Currie Chieftains), Stafford McDowall (Ayr) (capt), Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Hawks); Callum McLelland (Edinburgh), Charlie Chapman (Gloucester); Sam Grahamslaw (Leicester Tigers), Robbie Smith (Ayr), Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Accies), Jamie Hodgson (Watsonians), Marshall Sykes (St. Joseph’s College), Martin Hughes (Heriot’s), Rory Darge (Melrose), Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints).
Replacements: Finlay Scott (Jed-Forest), Ross Dunbar (Boroughmuir), Murphy Walker (Strathallan School), Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s), Guy Graham (Newcastle Falcons), Charlie Gowling (Stade Francais), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints).
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Gasnier, Stéphane Coullon (both France)
Television Match Official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win: 1/3; Draw: 19/1; Scotland U-20s to win: 12/5
Pre-Match Quotes – Noel McNamara (Ireland U-20s): “These players are working very hard and have not been found wanting from that perspective. But we really need to start putting away a couple of games. Relegation is obviously something that we weren’t countenancing on at the start of the tournament.
“(Playing in the 9th-12th bracket) is certainly not where we wanted to be but it’s where we are. It has consequences. It had consequences for us this year and we ended up in a pool with France, South Africa and Georgia. But I don’t know if that is always as important. The reality is those players turnover and you don’t know how strong next year’s crop is going to be.”
Bryan Redpath (Scotland U-20s) – “We competed well against England, but perhaps just ran out of gas in the second half after such a physical opening 40 minutes. We obviously know Ireland well after facing them in the Six Nations. They’re a tough, direct side who we pushed all the way in Donnybrook four months ago.
“The boys know how intense the clash will be and we’ll have to match their intensity from the get go. The boys have trained well. They’ve been positive and I’ve been really impressed with their mindset. We’ve chosen a strong, experienced side who we believe have the talent and attitude to get a positive result.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2016: Under-20 Six Nations: Ireland U-20s 26 Scotland U-20s 18, Donnybrook
2018: Under-20 Six Nations: Ireland U-20s 30 Scotland U-20s 25, Donnybrook