Ireland U20 Head Coach Nigel Carolan (NUIG Connacht Rugby Academy Manager) has named the Ireland U20 side, sponsored by PwC, to face France this Friday night in Donnybrook.
NUIG Connacht Rugby Academy and Corinthians player Sean Masterson is named among the replacements and is primed to make his Ireland U20 debut. A former Portlaoise RFC player and younger brother of Connacht senior player Eoghan, Masterson has previously represented the Ireland U18s and can play in the second row and the back row.
Connacht’s Cillian Gallagher captained the Ireland U20s against Scotland in their most recent outing but a shoulder injury has ruled him out.
There are a number of changes to the side that will run out in their first home game of the U20 Six Nations.
Ulster and Queen’s Rob Lyttle comes into the team at full-back and will win his first U20 cap on Friday night. He will be partnered in the back-field by Jordan Larmour and Calvin Nash. Nash will captain the side in the absence of the injured Jack Kelly and Gallagher.
Tommy O’Brien will wear the number 13 jersey and he lines out alongside his UCD and Leinster team mate Ciaran Frawley at centre.
At half-back, Munster and Garryowen out-half Bill Johnston makes his first appearance for the Ireland U20s since last June, when Ireland faced New Zealand in the U20 World Championships. He is partnered by Queen’s University and Ulster scrum-half Johnny Stewart.
The front-row is unchanged from the Italy game, with Joey Conway, Tadgh McElroy and Charlie Connolly packing down.
In the second-row are UCD’s Jack Regan and Lansdowne’s Oisin Dowling.
The back-row sees Ulster’s Marcus Rea come into the side at flanker, with Paul Boyle and Caelan Dorris wearing 7 and 8.
In the replacements, Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher will be looking to win his first Ireland U20 cap from the bench on Friday night, while Peter Cooper returns to the squad having missed the Italy game through injury. Rory Mulvihill is the third front-row replacement. Gavin Coombes again takes his place in the replacements, while Connacht’s Masterson will make his U20 debut should he be called up.
The uncapped Alex McHenry joins Jack Lyons and Conor Fitzgerald as backs cover.
Ahead of the French encounter, Head Coach Nigel Carolan said: “We’ve been forced to make a number of changes due to injuries this week, but that gives other players the opportunity to demonstrate what they can offer.
“The players trained with the Senior squad last Friday in Monaghan and they will have taken a lot of positives from that session which they carried into training this week.
“The French bounced back well from their defeat to England to win convincingly against Scotland, so we have a big challenge ahead of us this Friday, however with the quick surface in Donnybrook, along with playing in front of our home fans, the players are looking forward to getting out there and are looking to put in a good performance”.
The match, which is sponsored by Electric Ireland, kicks off at 8.00pm and tickets are available from http://www.ticketmaster.ie/.
The game will be broadcast live on RTE 2 on Friday night.
Ireland U20 vs France U20, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin, 8.00pm
15 Rob Lyttle (Queen’s University Belfast / Ulster)
14 Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
13 Tommy O’Brien (UCD RFC / Leinster)
12 Ciaran Frawley (UCD RFC / Leinster)
11 Calvin Nash (Young Munster / Munster) Captain
10 Bill Johnston (Garryowen / Munster)
9 Johnny Stewart (Queen’s University Belfast / Ulster)
1 Joey Conway (UL Bohemians / Munster)
2 Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
3 Charlie Connolly (Dublin University / Leinster)
4 Jack Regan (UCD RFC / Leinster)
5 Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
6 Marcus Rea (Queen’s University Belfast / Ulster)
7 Paul Boyle (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
8 Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
16 Ronan Kelleher (UCD RFC / Leinster)
17 Rory Mulvihill (UCD RFC / Leinster)
18 Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)
19 Gavin Coombes (Young Munster / Munster)
20 Sean Masterson (Corinthians / Connacht)
21 Jack Lyons (Young Munster / Munster)
22 Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon RFC / Munster)
23 Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution / Munster)
Not considered due to injury:
Jack Kelly – shoulder – hoping to be available for selection for Wales
Johnny McPhillips – (groin) – hoping to be available for selection for Wales
Gavin Mullin – (hamstring) – hoping to be available for selection for Wales
Cillian Gallagher – (shoulder) – awaiting additional results
Rory Butler – (concussion) – unavailable for the remainder of the Six Nations
Unavailable for selection:
Fineen Wycherley – drafted into Munster squad for their Guinness Pro12 match this weekend.
IRELAND U20 Six Nations Fixtures / Results
Friday 3rd February 2017
Scotland U20 19-20 Ireland U20, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
Friday 10th February 2017
Italy U20 26-27 Ireland U20, Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato
Friday 24th February 2017
Ireland U20 v France U20, 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin
Saturday 11th March 2017
Wales U20 v Ireland U20, 6.30pm, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, North Wales
Friday 17th March 2017
Ireland U20 v England U20, 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin