Ireland U20s brace for tough test against experienced English side

Scott Penny, who debuted for Leinster this season, one many new faces in squad

 Leinster’s Scott Penny evades a tackle from Ulster’s James Hume in a Pro14 clash at the RDS in January. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster’s Scott Penny evades a tackle from Ulster’s James Hume in a Pro14 clash at the RDS in January. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Ireland U20s v England U20s 
7.15pm, Musgrave Park

There is a callow look to the Irish side that face a ripping England selection tonight in Cork. Just three Irish players from last season, outhalf Harry Byrne, hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin and secondrow Charlie Ryan, return for coach Noel McNamara.

Their challenge is an England team fortified with nine players in the starting team that have been capped at this level, with seven playing in the final of the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship in France.

The England side is captained by Fraser Dingwall at outside centre and includes full senior international Ted Hill at blindside flanker, who is named as vice-captain. As well as Dingwall and Hill, lock Joel Kpoku, flanker Aaron Hinkley, number eight Tom Willis, outhalf Marcus Smith and centre Tom Hardwick were part of the side that lost to France in Beziers last summer.

Ruled out

Prop Marcus Street will be appearing in his third U20 Six Nations Championship, while England’s replacements also include four players capped at this age group. Among them is centre Cameron Redpath who earned selection for the senior tour to South Africa last summer, before being ruled out through injury.

Many Irish eyes will be on flanker Scott Penny, who made his Leinster senior debut earlier in the season. But Ireland expect a tough night as England arrive full of confidence and laced with experience throughout the squad.

Ireland U20: J Flannery (Shannon); C Phillips (Young Munster), L Turner (Dublin University), D Hawkshaw (Clontarf, capt), J Wren (Cork Constitution); H Byrne (Lansdowne), C Casey (Shannon); J Wycherley (Young Munster), D Tierney-Martin (Corinthians), Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University); C Ryan (UCD), Niall Murray (Buccaneers); M Moloney (Old Belvedere), S Penny (UCD), J Hodnett (UCC).

Replacements: J McKee (Old Belvedere), M Milne (UCD), R Lomas (Galwegians), B Deeny (Clontarf), D McCann (Banbridge), C Foley (St Mary’s College), S French (Cork Constitution), R Russell (Dublin University).

England U20: J Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), O Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), F Dingwall (Northampton Saints), T Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), C Murley (Harlequins), M Smith (Harlequins), S Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), O Adkins (Gloucester), N Dolly (Sale Sharks), M Street (Exeter Chiefs), J Kpoku (Saracens), A Coles (Northampton Saints), T Hill (Worcester Warriors), A Hinkley (Gloucester), T Willis (Wasps).

Replacements: B Atkins (London Irish), B Rodd (Sale Sharks), J Heyes (Leicester Tigers), J Scott (Worcester Warriors), R Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), O Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), C Redpath (Sale Sharks), O Lawrence (Worcester Warriors). 

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