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Munster man Kiernan captains Ireland U20 side looking to seal top spot in pool

The centre is one of four sons of former internationals in the Wolfpup starting XV tomorrow.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

NIGEL CAROLAN HAS retained only two of the team who started a famous win over New Zealand for tomorrow’s final World Rugby U20 Championship Pool A fixture against Georgia.

Wing Hugo Keenan and back row Greg Jones are the men asked to start a third game in eight days with debuts handed to Cork Con lock Evan Mintern and Belfast Harlequins openside Conall Boomer.

After out-half Bill Johnston injured his shoulder in the win over the Baby Blacks, Johnny McPhillips will be the first choice 10 for the remainder of the tournament.

The Ulster man will look to guide a team containing no fewer than four sons of former international rugby players. Prop Vakh Abdaladze packs down against the country of his birth, and the nation his father represented, while captain Paul Kiernan (son of Michael), Niall Saunders (son of Rob) and Terry Kennedy Jr will hope to state their own claim for Test distinction.

Terry Kennedy runs in for a try Kennedy was in sparkling form against a Leinster development side over the winter. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A win would give Ireland an unassailable lead at the top of Pool A after wins over Wales and New Zealand. Though Georgia lost against the same opposition, they did run the Grand Slam winners close on Saturday, just falling to a 10 – 9 loss against the Principality.

“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,” said Carolan.

“They pushed Wales all the way at the weekend 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 U20 World Championship match so we’re looking forward to seeing them in action.”

Ireland U20 (v Georgia, Wednesday 15 June, KO 17.30)

15. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
14. Terry Kennedy (St.Mary’s / Leinster)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)
12. Paul Kiernan (UCC / Munster) Capt
11. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University / Ulster)
9. Niall Saunders (Harlequins)

1. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
2. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster)
3. Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf / Leinster)
4. Evan Mintern (Cork Con / Munster)*
5. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
6. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)
7. Conall Boomer (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)*
8. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)

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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 Con / Munster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)

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