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Nick McCarthy captains the team from scrum-half.
Nick McCarthy captains the team from scrum-half.
Image: Photosport/David Rowland/INPHO

Ireland U20s name nine fresh faces for Six Nations opener against Italy

Head coach Nigel Carolan has called on seven experienced heads to complement the new players.
Feb 4th 2015, 12:07 PM 7,117 20

IRELAND U20 COACH Nigel Carolan has called on a number of new faces for his side’s Six Nations opener against Italy on Friday evening [KO 18.00 Irish time].

While there is room for six players previously capped in this competition in the starting team, a total of nine will make their U20 Six Nations debuts at Stadio Pozzi Lamarmora.

2014 IRB Junior World Player of the Year nominee Garry Ringrose starts at outside centre, while fullback Billy Dardis, captain Nick McCarthy, tighthead prop Oisin Heffernan, and back row Rory Moloney return from last year’s squad.

Out-half Ross Byrne, who excelled at the Junior World Championship last summer, is also back again. Flanker Josh Murphy, who played in last year’s JWC after missing the Six Nations, starts on the blindside.

Munster wing Greg O’Shea, a former sprinter, is among the new faces in the backline, while Fergal Cleary – who impressed for Clongowes in last season’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup – starts at inside centre.

Ulster back Jack Owens, an exciting talent, is selected on the left wing.

In the front row, former Blackrock College man Jeremy Loughman is named at loosehead prop, while Ulster hooker Zack McCall wears number two. David O’Connor of St. Mary’s and QUB’s Alex Thompson form the new lock pairing.

Ross Byrne Out-half Ross Byrne is back for another year of U20s rugby. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The more experienced Murphy and Moloney are joined in the back row by the mature and powerful Lorcan Dow, a product of the Exiles system.

Among the replacements are the physically-impressive Connacht lock Cian Romaine and Munster academy scrum-half Jack Cullen, who played for the Ireland U20s last year.

Ireland U20 team to face Italy:

15. Billy Dardis (UCD/ Leinster)
14. Greg O’Shea (Shannon/ Munster)
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/ Leinster)
12. Fergal Cleary (Lansdowne / Leinster)
11. Jack Owens (QUB/ Ulster)
10. Ross Byrne (UCD / Leinster)
9. Nick McCarthy (UCD/ Leinster) (captain)
1. Jeremy Loughman (UCD / Leinster)
2. Zack McCall (QUB/Ulster)
3. Oisin Heffernan (Terenure/Leinster)
4. David O’Connor (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
5. Alex Thompson (QUB/Ulster)
6. Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)
7. Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht)
8. Lorcan Dow (QUB/Ulster)


16. Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)
17. Michael Lagan (Ballymena/Ulster)
18. Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht)
19. Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht)
20. Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
21. Jack Cullen (Shannon/Munster)
22. Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster)
23. Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster)

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