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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
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Blow for Ireland U20s as out-half Johnston heads home injured
Newcastle Falcons man Brett Connon will take his place in the squad.

John Fallon reports from Manchester

IRELAND’S HOPES OF building on their epic wins over world champions New Zealand and Six Nations Grand Slam winners Wales have suffered a big set-back with out-half Bill Johnston ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.

Billy Johnston Camerasport / Dave Howarth/INPHO Johnston's tournament is over. Camerasport / Dave Howarth/INPHO / Dave Howarth/INPHO

Johnston missed the Six Nations campaign with a shoulder injury and only made his U20 debut on Tuesday night against Wales when he impressed and kicked eleven points in a 26-25 win.

But he suffered a dislocated shoulder just before half time in the historic 33-24 victory over the Baby Blacks yesterday, a win which leaves Nigel Carolan’s men in pole position in Pool A of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Johnston, whose older brother David has broken through to the Munster senior side, is to return home and will be replaced in the squad by Brett Connon of Newcastle Falcons.

Brett Connon Ryan Byrne / INPHO Connon takes Johnston's place in the Ireland squad. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Johnston is the second Irish player to be ruled out of the tournament through injury, with tighthead prop Conor Kenny tasting just three minutes of action before a shoulder injury ended his campaign against Wales on Tuesday evening.

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Ireland are expected to change the side around for Wednesday’s final pool game against Georgia where a win over the newcomers, who have lost both games, will guarantee a semi-final spot for only the second time ever.

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