Ireland have made just two changes to the side that beat Scotland last time out for their U20 6 Nations clash against Italy on Friday night.
Taking place at the Stadio Centro d’Italia in Rieti, the game kicks off at 6pm GMT and will be streamed live on Irish Rugby’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/IrishRugbyTVOfficial ).
Ireland are currently two from two in the U20 Six Nations, having beaten England in the opening round in a thriller before a strong win over Scotland last time out.
Both of the changes are in the backline, with Munster’s Craig Casey coming in at scrum half and on the right win Ulster’s Angus Kernohan comes back in after featuring last season.
Casey’s half back partner is Leinster fly half Harry Byrne and the centre partnership are his two Leinster College’s, Liam Turner at outside centre and inside him David Hawkshaw, who once again captains the side.
Joining Kernohan in the back three are Munster’s Jonathan Wren on the left wing, with his club colleague Jake Flannery at full back.
Up front Munster’s Josh Wycherley lines up alongside Dylan Tierney-Martin of Connact and Leinster’s Thomas Clarkson in the front row. Leinster’s Charlie Ryan and Connacht’s Niall Murray retain their second row partnership, with Munster’s John Hodnett flankerd by the Leinster pair of Scott Penny and Martin Moloney once again.
There are four debutants on the bench, Munster’s Billy Scannell and his clubmate Ben Healy, Ulster’s Callum Reid, and Leinster’s Ronan Watters. Joining them are Linster’s Michael Milne, Brian Deeny, Cormac Foley, and Rob Russell.
Speaking to Irish Rugby ahead of the game, Head Coach Noel McNamara said:
“We’re pleased to have won our opening two games, but the players are ambitious, and they are constantly looking for improvements in their performance, both individually and collectively.”
“Our previous meetings with Italy have been really challenging encounters, with only one score separating the sides in our past number of games. The down week allowed for the players to get some good recovery in, as well as reviewing the Scotland game and looking ahead to this weekend.”
“We had a really positive session with the Ireland Senior side last Friday in the Aviva Stadium, so the players are now looking forward to getting back into the green jersey on Friday night in Rieti.”
Ireland U20 XV v Italy – Friday, 6pm (GMT), Stadio Centro d’Italia:
15 Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster), 14 Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster), 13 Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster), 12 David Hawkshaw (Clontarf/Leinster, captain), 11 Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster), 10 Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster), 9 Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster), 1 Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), 2 Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht), 3 Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster), 4 Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), 5 Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht), 6 Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 7 Scott Penny (UCD RFC/Leinster), 8 John Hodnett (UCC/Munster).
Replacements: 16 Billy Scannell (Young Munster/Munster), 17 Callum Reid (Banbridge/Ulster), 18 Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster), 19 Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster), 20 Ronan Watters (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), 21 Cormac Foley (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), 22 Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster), 23 Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster).
Ireland U20 6 Nations Fixtures:
Round 1 – Ireland 35-27 England
Round 2 – Scotland 5-24 Ireland
Round 3 – Italy – Friday 22nd Feb, 6pm (GMT), Stadio Centro d’Italia (Live on https://www.youtube.com/user/IrishRugbyTVOfficial )
Round 4 – France – Friday 8th Mar, 7.15pm, Irish Independent Park, Cork (Live on RTE)
Round 5 – Wales – Friday 15th Mar, 7.15pm, Stadwim Zip World, Colwyn Bay (Live on RTE)