World Rugby U20 Championships – Ireland make changes as they aim for semis


Ireland have made thirteen changes to the side that beat New Zealand in the World Rugby U20 Championships on Saturday.


They face Georgia at the Manchester City Academy Stadium tomorrow at 17.30, and a win will see Ireland top their group and secure a place in the semi finals of the tournament.


It has been a stunning campaign from Ireland so far, coming from 17-0 down after twenty minutes against the U20 RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam champions, Wales, in their opening game to secure a brilliant 26-25 victory.


They then backed that up by beating the reigning World Rugby U20 Champions, New Zealand, on Saturday by an impressive 33-24 scoreline.


Three names that will be very familiar to English viewers have been brought into the side, Newcastle Falcons’ Brett Connon comes into the side at full back, with former Sedbergh School star Johnny McPhillips starting at outside half.


His half back partner will be the current Epsom College skipper, Niall Saunders, who makes his first start for the U20 side.


Inspirational skipper James Ryan takes a rest from second row duties and will do a stint on the bench, with inside centre Paul Kiernan taking over the captaincy for the game.


The reason for all the changes is the nature of the tournament, games are every four days so at some point players need to rest. It is a calculated risk from Head Coach Nigel Carolan though, despite taking a heavy beating from New Zealand, Georgia bounced back in style on Wednesday and game oh so close to embarrassing Wales, just losing out, 10-9.


Carolan acknowledged that result when speaking to the Irish Rugby website, saying:


“We’re in a good position with two wins from two so far in this competition but we now have a big test against what is a very physical Georgian side. They pushed Wales all the way at the weekend (losing 10-9), so they will be looking to build on that performance and will be confident coming into this match.”


“The nature of the tournament means that games come thick and fast so it’s important that we use our whole squad. There are a number of players who will be starting their first U-20 World Championship match so we’re looking forward to seeing them in action.”


Ireland U20 v Georgia U20 – Wednesday, 17.30, Manchester City Academy Stadium – Live on Sky Sports 4


Ireland U20 XV

15 Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons/Exiles)

14 Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)

13 Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)

12 Paul Kiernan (UCC/Munster, captain)

11 Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)

10 Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University/Ulster)

9 Niall Saunders (Harlequins/Exiles)

1 James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster)

2 Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution/Munster)

3 Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf/Leinster)

4 Evan Mintern (Cork Constitution/Munster)

5 Sean O’Connor (Cashel/Munster)

6 Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster)

7 Conall Boomer (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)

8 Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster)


16 Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)

17 Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)

18 Adam Coyle (Naas/Leinster)

19 James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)

20 Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster)

21 Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht)

22 Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)

23 Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)


World Rugby U20 Championship Round 2 Results:


New Zealand 24-33 Ireland (Pool A)

Wales 10-9 Georgia (Pool A)

Australia 38-10 Italy (Pool B)

England 44-0 Scotland (Pool B)

France 46-14 Japan (Pool C)

South Africa 13-19 Argentina (Pool C)


World Rugby U20 Championship Fixtures:


Wednesday 15th June

Scotland v Italy (Pool B, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 15.15)

Argentina v Japan (Pool C, AJ Bell, 15.15)

Ireland v Georgia (Pool A, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 17.30)

New Zealand v Wales (Pool A, AJ Bell, 17.30)

South Africa v France (Pool C, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 19.45)

England v Australia (Pool B, AJ Bell, 19.45)

Monday 20th June – Semi Finals Day (Pool Winners and best runner up compete in semi finals, next two runners up and top two third place in 5th – 8th seeding games, three pool losers and worst third placed side in 9th – 12th seeding games)

 Saturday 25th June – Finals Day


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool A Standings
2New Zealand10126


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool B Standings


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool C Standings
2South Africa10126
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