Fresh from their bonus point success against Wales, the Ireland Under-20s will look for a repeat result in their final pool match against Fiji as they chase a semi-final place at the IRB Junior World Championship.
2014 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – POOL B: Tuesday, June 10
IRELAND UNDER-20s (2nd) v FIJI UNDER-20s (4th), QBE Stadium, Auckland, 1.35pm local time/2.35am Irish time (live TG4/full repeat, 12.30pm/highlights, 7.30pm)
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, to play Fiji in the final round of pool games at the IRB Junior World Championship has been named.
There are four changes in personnel to the Ireland team that secured a crucial 35-21 bonus point win over Wales in Pukekohe last Friday.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has handed Cork Constitution scrum half Ryan Foley his first start at Under-20 level. He will link up at half-back with the ever-present Ross Byrne, who scored 20 points in the opening two pool games.
Darragh Moloney makes way for the returning Stephen Gardiner from Lansdowne in the second row, while Josh Murphy and Rory Moloney – both capped at Under-19 level this season – have been brought into the back row alongside captain Jack O’Donoghue.
Ireland can book a first ever semi-final spot with a bonus point victory over Fiji, because even if Pool B leaders France were to beat Wales the 11 points Ruddock’s side would accumulate would be more than the runner-ups in the other two pools can reach.
Meanwhile, Salimoni Ravouvou’s Fijian team will be hoping to avoid their third straight pool defeat after losing to Wales (48-19) and France (37-5) and shipping 12 tries (including three penalty tries) in the process.
Discipline has been an issue for Ravouvou’s charges with two yellow cards in the Welsh game and a yellow and a red against France.
Replacement Maika Baleinaloto was sent-off in that second round clash and will miss the remainder of the tournament after being hit with a seven-week ban for ‘a dangerous lifting tackle’.
The Fijian management have made five changes in personnel with Tubuka Vueti, Poasa Waqanibau and Leone Nawai added to the back-line at full-back, outside centre and scrum half respectively.
Adrea Cocagi shifts to the left wing as he captains Fiji in the absence of Maikelo Sivo, whose place at hooker has been taken by Peniona Toga.
Cocagi is a highly-rated player and spent two seasons with Stade Francais, playing for the club in the Amlin Challenge Cup this year. Normally an inside centre, he signed for French Pro D2 side Tarbes last month.
In the final selection switch, Paula Bukavece has been promoted to the back row with Ameniasi Natuiyaga moving to openside flanker.
IRELAND U-20: Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster), Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Foley (Cork Constitution/Munster); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt).
Replacements: Dylan Donnellan (UCD/Leinster), Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Darragh Moloney (Cork Constitution/Munster), Frankie Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College/Leinster).
FIJI U-20: Tubuka Vueti; Aisake Rokobuli, Poasa Waqanibau, Semi Camaisala, Adrea Cocagi (capt); Josese Kurukava, Leone Nawai; Aseri Robarobalevu, Peniona Toga, Apolosi Ranawai, Lote Nasiga, Simione Naiduki, Paula Bukavece, Ameniasi Natuiyaga, Vincent Sosefo.
Replacements: Wilisoni Lagi, Jack Dreunimolea, Samuela Tawake, Marika Tokalauvere, Vasikali Mudu, Marika Tivitivi, Elia Mroisio, Orisi Nawaqaliva.
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant Referees: Matt O’Brien (Australia), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
Television Match Official: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland U-20s to win (-29): 10/11; Draw (-29): 25/1; Fiji U-20s to win (+29): 10/11
Pre-Match Quotes – Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s): “In our last two matches we got the result against Wales and were very competitive against France, so to sum it up I would say we have got a little better with each game.
“It would be a big achievement (to reach the semi-finals) but we don’t want to get carried away with the outcome. We have really focused on the process and our game-plan, tactically and mentally we have got to bring it.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meeting –
2013: IRB Junior World Championship – Pool B: Ireland U-20s 46 Fiji U-20s 3, Stade de la Rabine, Vannes