Noel McNamara makes two changes to Ireland U20 side for Wales clash

Winger Ben Moxham and prop Marcus Hannan named for game in Cork

Ireland  outhalf Jack Crowley will be looking for another big performance against Wales in Cork on Friday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland outhalf Jack Crowley will be looking for another big performance against Wales in Cork on Friday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Ireland under-20 head coach Noel McNamara has made two changes to his side for Friday night’s game against Wales at Mugrave Park (kick-off 7.15pm, live on RTÉ2).

Ballymena winger Ben Moxham is set for his first appearance at the grade, replacing Ethan McIlroy who is unavailable due to injury, while the other change to the starting XV sees Marcus Hannan come into the frontrow.

Otherwise McNamara has rewarded the players who performed so impressively in the opening round victory over Scotland in Cork last week, with Banbridge’s David McCann once again named as captain.

Cork Con outhalf Jack Crowley, man-of-the-match in the six-try win over Scotland, will hope to pull the strings for Ireland alongside scrumhalf Lewis Finlay, while Moxham joins Oran McNulty and Andrew Smith in the back three.

Dan Kelly and Hayden Hyde continue their midfield partnership, with Ben Murphy, Tim Corkery and Luis Faria providing backline cover from the replacements bench.

Clane RFC product Hannan is named at loosehead and joins Ballynahinch hooker Tom Stewart and vice-captain Thomas Clarkson, who has now started each of Ireland’s last seven Under-20 Six Nations fixtures, in the frontrow.

Thomas Ahern, who scored against Scotland, and Brian Deeny form the secondrow pairing, while the backrow of Seán O’Brien, Mark Hernan and McCann is unchanged.

There is plenty of frontrow experience among the options available to McNamara from the bench, including John McKee, Harry Noonan and Charlie Ward, with Joe McCarthy and Cian Prendergast completing the matchday 23.

“We got things started on a positive note on Friday night in Cork and now that we are up and running in the championship, we are looking forward to improving upon that performance,” McNamara said.

“This Friday night presents a new challenge against Wales. The players have worked hard during the week with the emphasis very much on ourselves and building towards this week’s game.”

IRELAND U20 (v Wales, Musgrave Park, Friday, 7.15): Oran McNulty (Corinthians); Ben Moxham (Ballymena), Dan Kelly (Loughborough University), Hayden Hyde (Ballynahinch), Andrew Smith (Clontarf;); Jack Crowley (Cork Con), Lewis Finlay (Malone); Marcus Hannan (Old Belvedere), Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch), Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University); Thomas Ahern (Shannon), Brian Deeny (Clontarf); Seán O’Brien (UCD), Mark Hernan (Lansdowne), David McCann (Banbridge, capt).

Replacements: John McKee (Old Belvedere), Harry Noonan (Old Wesley), Charlie Ward (Clontarf), Joe McCarthy (Dublin University), Cian Prendergast (UCD), Ben Murphy (Clontarf), Tim Corkery (Lansdowne), Luis Faria (Dublin University).

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