A seventh place finish in the IRB Junior World Championship is the target for the Ireland Under-20s this afternoon as they renew rivalries with Australia in a much-anticipated play-off clash.
2013 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: 7TH/8TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Sunday, June 23
AUSTRALIA U-20s v IRELAND U-20s, Stade Henri Desgrange, La Roche-sur-Yon, 3pm local time/2pm Irish time
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to face Australia in Sunday’s 7th-8th place play-off at the IRB Junior World Championship has been named.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has made four personnel changes to the team for Ireland’s final match of the Junior World Championship in France.
Adam Byrne returns on the right wing in place of Darren Sweetnam with Rory Scholes retaining the full-back berth.
The rest of the back-line – marshalled by captain Luke McGrath and Steve Crosbie – is unchanged as Alex Wootton, a late call-up for the injured Tom Daly, prepares for his second successive start on the left wing.
Darragh Leader and Peter Dooley both miss out through injury with the latter’s place at loosehead prop going to Edward Byrne, the twin brother of starting hooker Bryan Byrne.
Gavin Thornbury comes in for Sean McCarthy in the second row and Daniel Leavy has recovered from injury to line out at blindside flanker, the selected back row seeing Conor Joyce revert to the number 8 position.
This is Ireland’s second encounter of the tournament with Australia. Ruddock’s charges opened their Pool B campaign with a memorable 19-15 win over the Junior Wallabies and they will be looking to repeat that result to claim seventh place overall.
There are nine players in Sunday’s team who started the pool opener against the Australians. Wootton is the only personnel change in the back-line – although Scholes was on the wing that day and current centre Rory Scannell was positioned at full-back.
There is a completely new front row in the Byrne brothers and Christopher Taylor, while lock Thornbury and flanker Leavy are the other new inclusions.
Meanwhile, Australia head coach Adrian Thompson has selected a strong team which will be led once again by Super Rugby-capped number 8 Curtis Browning.
Browning, who has signed a two-year deal with Queensland Reds after making his Super Rugby debut in March, heads up a back row that includes Mark Baldwin – one of five changes to the side that started the recent defeat to Ireland.
Easts duo Pettowa Paraka and Andrew Ready have been added to the front row, while Luke Burton and Waldo Wessels come in for the benched Ben Meehan and Ulupano Seuteni respectively in the back-line.
Thompson’s charges lost 22-15 to Argentina in their midweek play-off game with prop Paraka and Silatolu Latu, who will be the reserve hooker against Ireland, scoring a try apiece.
AUSTRALIA U-20: Jonah Placid (QLD); Harry Parker (QLD), Lalakai Foketi (NSW), Luke Burton (WA), Alex Northam (NSW); Jake McIntyre (NSW), Waldo Wessels (NSW); Pettowa Paraka (QLD), Andrew Ready (QLD), Oliver Hoskins (WA), Senio Toleafoa (NSW), Tom Staniforth (ACT), Michael Wells (NSW), Mark Baldwin (NSW), Curtis Browning (QLD) (capt).
Replacements: Silatolu Latu (NSW), Allan Alaalatoa (NSW), Phil Kite (QLD), Jack Dempsey (NSW), Patrick Sio (NSW), Ben Meehan (QLD), Reece Hodge (NSW), Ulupano Seuteni (QLD).
IRELAND U-20: Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Thomas Farrell (Lansdowne/Leinster), Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Alex Wootton (Northampton Saints/Exile); Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) (capt); Edward Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Bryan Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Christopher Taylor (Malone/Ulster), Gavin Thornbury (UCD/Leinster), John Donnan (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Daniel Leavy (UCD/Leinster), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Conor Joyce (Malone/Ulster).
Replacements: George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons/Exile), Ryan Furniss (Worcester Warriors/Exile), Adam Boland (Lansdowne/Connacht), Sean McCarthy (Shannon/Munster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), David Shanahan (Clontarf/Leinster), Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Connacht), David Panter (Corinthians/Connacht).
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland), Christophe Dutreuilh (France)
Pre-Match Quotes: Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s) – “Australia will have learned from the first game. They’ll have done a bit more work on us to counter some of the stuff we brought to it.
“But I am still expecting the boys to pick themselves us, dust themselves down and come out firing.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meeting –
2013: IRB Junior World Championship – Pool B: Ireland U-20s 19 Australia U-20s 15, Stade de la Rabine, Vannes