The Ireland Under-18 Schools team, sponsored by PwC, has been announced for their second match of the U-18 International Series against England at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli on Wednesday (5.15pm).
Connacht’s Niall Murray, from Brideswell in Athlone, keeps his place in the side after also starting against Italy last week. The Buccaneers second-row forward attends St Aloysius College, Athlone, and has previously represented the Connacht U18s and the Ireland U18 Clubs team.
Ireland will look to make it two wins out of two in the tournament, having emerged with a 39-23 victory over Italy in last Saturday’s opening round in Cardiff.
Head coach Noel McNamara has made seven personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that started against Italy. Pres Cork’s Sean French, who touched down twice in the series opener, will be partnered at centre by Eoin Barr of Gonzaga College.
Blackrock’s Liam Turner moves to the right wing to accommodate the inclusion of Stewart Moore (Ballymena Academy) at full-back, with French’s school-mate Jonathan Wren starting on the left wing and Glenstal Abbey’s Ben Healy completing an all-Munster half-back pairing with captain Craig Casey.
There is another Munster combination in the front row where Josh Wycherley, whose brother Fineen was a regular for Ireland during the recent U-20 Six Nations, links up with hooker Billy Scannell – a try scorer against Italy – and tighthead Luke Masters.
The second row of Ryan Baird and Connacht’s Murray is unchanged, while Knockbeg College’s Martin Moloney and Azur Allison of Ballymena Academy, who skippered the Ulster U-18 Schools team this season, will form a new-look back row with vice-captain Scott Penny.
The England U18s scored nine tries on their way to a 55-11 win over Canada U19s last Saturday. Right winger Turner is the only player who was involved for Ireland in last year’s corresponding fixture – a tight 15-12 defeat at Bristol’s SGS College.
Ireland U18 Schools Team & Replacements (v England U18s, Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wednesday, April 12, 5.15pm)
15 Stewart Moore (Ballymena Academy/Ulster)
14 Liam Turner (Blackrock College/Leinster)
13 Sean French (PBC Cork/Munster)
12 Eoin Barr (Gonzaga College/Leinster)
11 Jonathan Wren (PBC Cork/Munster)
10 Ben Healy (Glenstal Abbey/Munster)
9 Craig Casey (Ard Scoil Ris/Munster) (capt)
1 Josh Wycherley (CC Roscrea/Munster)
2 Billy Scannell (PBC Cork/Munster)
3 Luke Masters (CBC Cork/Munster)
4 Ryan Baird (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
5 Niall Murray (St. Aloysius College/Connacht)
6 Martin Moloney (Knockbeg College/Leinster)
7 Scott Penny (St. Michael’s College/Leinster) (vice-capt)
8 Azur Allison (Ballymena Academy/Ulster)
16 John McKee (Campbell College/Ulster)
17 Niall McEniff (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
18 Tom Clarkson (Blackrock College/Leinster)
19 Cian Hurley (CBC Cork/Munster)
20 Fintan Coleman (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)
21 Dan O’Donovan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
22 Cormac Foley (St. Gerard’s School/Leinster)
23 Harry Byrne (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
24 David Ryan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
25 Darragh Kelly (St. Fintan’s School/Leinster)
26 Angus Kernohan (Ballymena Academy/Ulster)
U18 International Series
Ireland 39-23 Italy, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Ireland v England, Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wednesday, April 12, 5.15pm
Ireland v Wales, CCB Centre of Sporting Excellence, Caerphilly, Sunday, April 16,. 4.15pm