Four changes in Ireland U20 side for meeting with Italy
Ireland coach Noel McNamara praises Italian performance against England
Seán Masterson (pictured right) comes into the Ireland side at blindside flanker for Friday’s game against Italy at Donnybrook. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Ireland under-20 head coach Noel McNamara has made four changes from the side that lost 24-34 away to France in their opening Six Nations match for Friday’s clash with Italy at Donnybrook Stadium (kick-off 7.15pm, live on RTÉ).
Two of those changes come in the backrow with flankers Seán Masterson and Matthew Agnew joining number eight Jack O’Sullivan.
In the backs, scrumhalf Hugh O’Sullivan comes into starting side, having won his first cap from the bench last week, and he will partner outhalf Harry Byrne. In midfield, Angus Curtis moves from the replacements and will line out alongside Tommy O’Brien, who will captain the side from outside centre.
Ahead of Friday’s fixture, McNamara said: “France was a learning experience for all involved, and the challenge now is to build on what went right for us in Bordeaux while also looking to address the areas that could have been better.
“We had a long trip home from France, but the players have looked after themselves and recovered well and they are eager to run out in front of a home crowd this Friday night.
“Italy pushed England all the way and really made them work hard for their win last weekend, and their underage sides are getting stronger and stronger each season, so it will be a challenge, but our players showed a lot of character in the second half against France, and we’ll be looking for them to build on that coming into this game.”
IRELAND (U20 v Italy, Friday, Donnybrook Stadium, 7.15pm): Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster); Peter Sullivan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Angus Curtis (Queen’s University/Ulster), James McCarthy (UL Bohemian/Munster); Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Hugh O’Sullivan (Clontarf/Leinster); Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster), Ronan Kelleher (UCD/ Leinster), Jack Aungier (St Mary’s College/Leinster); Cormac Daly (Clontarf FC/Leinster), Jack Dunne (Dublin University/Leinster); Seán Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht), Matthew Agnew (Ballymena/Ulster), Jack O’Sullivan (UCC/Munster).
Replacements: Eoghan Clarke (Wanderers/Leinster), James French (UCC/Munster), Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster), Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), Ronan Foley (UCD/Leinster), Paddy Patterson (UCD/Leinster), Conor Dean (St Mary’s College/Leinster), Angus Kernohan (Ballymena/Ulster).
Unavailable for selection: Matthew Dalton (Ulster Pro14 squad); Aaron Hall (injured); Jonny Stewart (Ulster Pro14 squad).