Ireland U20 Head Coach Nigel Carolan has confirmed the Ireland U20 side, sponsored by PwC, to take on Italy U20 this Friday at the Stadio Enrico Chersoni in Prato.
Connacht flanker Cillian Gallagher will captain the side in the absence of injured full-back Jack Kelly. NUIG Connacht Academy player Gallagher was one of the standout performers in the back row for Ireland in the win over Scotland last week. The 20-year-old is a product of Summerhill College and Sligo RFC and currently plays in the Ulster Bank League for Corinthians.
Sub-Academy prop Matthew Burke could make his Ireland U20 debut having been named on the bench for the clash. The Ballinrobe native started playing with local club Ballinrobe RFC and has represented Connacht at U20 level. He joined Galwegians two years ago.
The team shows four changes from the one that claimed a late win over their Scottish counterparts last Friday night. Charlie Connolly will start in the front-row, with Calvin Nash coming into the back-three and Matthew Burke and Gavin Coombes coming on the bench.
The front-row sees hooker, Tadgh McElroy joined by props Joey Conway and Connolly (who replaces the injured Peter Cooper at tight head).
The second-row remains the same from last week’s game, as Fineen Wycherley partners Oisin Dowling.
Gallagher is joined in the back-row by Paul Boyle and Number 8 Caelan Doris.
The Ulster pairing of Johnny Stewart and Johnny McPhillips continue at half-backs, with Ciaran Frawley and Gavin Mullin resuming their centre partnership.
Colm Hogan shifts from the wing to full-back, with Jordan Larmour and Calvin Nash, who made his senior debut for Munster last weekend, taking their places on the wings.
Ahead of the side departing for Prato, Carolan said: “It was tough going last Friday night in Glasgow. The conditions made it challenging and with 21 of the 23 players involved gaining their first experience of international rugby at this level, the fact that we came away with the result against a very good Scottish side is a big positive.
“The Italians are ever improving, so we are expecting another tough encounter, particularly up front, where they made life difficult for Wales last week.
“We have made a couple of changes for this week, so for the players selected, we’re looking for them to build on their experience from last week and continue to develop as a team.”
Ireland U20 vs Italy U20, Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato, North Italy, 6.00pm (Irish time)
15. Colm Hogan (Dublin University / Munster)
14. Jordan Larmour (St.Mary’s College / Leinster)
13. Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC / Leinster)
12. Ciaran Frawley (UCD RFC / Leinster)
11. Calvin Nash (Young Munster / Munster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Ballynahinch / Ulster)
9. Johnny Stewart (Queen’s University / Ulster)
1. Joey Conway (UL Bohemians / Munster)
2. Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
3. Charlie Connolly (Dublin University / Leinster)
4. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster / Munster)
5. Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
6. Cillian Gallagher (Captain) (Corinthians / Connacht)
7. Paul Boyle (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
8. Caelan Doris (St.Mary’s College / Leinster)
- Adam Moloney (Shannon RFC / Munster)
- Rory Mulvihill (UCD RFC / Leinster)
- Matthew Burke (Corinthians / Connacht)
- Jack Regan (UCD RFC / Leinster)
- Gavin Coombes (Young Munster / Munster)
- Jack Lyons (Young Munster / Munster)
- Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon RFC / Munster)
- Tommy O’Brien (UCD RFC / Leinster)
Not considered due to injury
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 v Ireland U20, 7pm (6pm GMT), 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
Tickets are available for Ireland U20’s home games in Donnybrook via www.ticketmaster.ie