Ireland have named their side for their crucial World Rugby U20 Championship clash against New Zealand tomorrow.
The All Blacks are the reigning Champions and got their campaign off to a flying start with a 55-0 victory over Georgia on Tuesday, but Ireland also come into this game on a real high after they thrillingly beat Wales 26-25 in the game of the opening round.
Ireland were 17-0 down after just twenty minutes but came back in fine style to win the game. Unsurprisingly Head Coach Nigel Carolan has made just the one change to that starting fifteen, replacing the injured tighthead Conor Kenny with Ben Betts, with James Bollard coming onto the bench.
Speaking ahead of the game, Carolan said:
“It was very pleasing to open the tournament with the win over Wales on Tuesday. While we gave them a big lead early on, I felt that we showed fantastic ambition and fight to get back into the game and we were patient to close out the win in the end.”
“New Zealand is a massive game for us. They had a comprehensive win over Georgia on Tuesday so they will be going into this game full of confidence. Our players have recovered well over the last number of days and are looking forward to the challenge against the current world champions.”
There is plenty to be interested in for viewers from this side of the Irish Sea too, with former Sedbergh star Johnny McPhillips on the bench alongside the current Epsom College skipper and scrum half, Niall Saunders.
Ireland U20 v New Zealand U20 – Saturday, 13.30, Manchester City Academy Stadium, Live on Sky Sports 3
Ireland U20 XV
15 Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
14 Matthew Byrne (Terenure College/Leinster)
13 Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
12 Conor O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
11 Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
10 Bill Johnston (Garryowen/Munster)
9 Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht)
1 Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
2 Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)
3 Ben Betts (Young Munster/Munster)
4 Cillian Gallagher (Sligo/Connacht)
5 James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster, captain)
6 Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster)
7 David Aspil (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
8 Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
16 Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution/Munster)
17 Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf/Leinster)
18 James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster)
19 Sean O’Connor (Cashel/Munster)
20 Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster)
21 Niall Saunders (Epsom College/Exiles)
22 Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University/Ulster)
23 Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)