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Two Connacht prospects have been brought into the Ireland U20s team for Wales

Wing Ciaran Gaffney returns from injury for Nigel Carolan’s side, while Cian Romaine also starts.

IRELAND U20s HEAD coach Nigel Carolan has made a number of changes to his starting team for Friday evening’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay [KO 19.45, RTÉ 2].

Ciaran Gaffney carries forward Ciaran Gaffney in action against New Zealand in last year's JWC. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

Exciting Connacht flyer Ciaran Gaffney returns to start on the right wing, having missed the opening three rounds through injury. The Galwegians man impressed for the U20s at last year’s Junior World Championship.

Gaffney’s provincial teammate Cian Romaine also comes into the XV for his first start of the championship, Josh Murphy moving up from the back row to form an all-new second row partnership.

There are also two news faces in the back row, as former Blackrock College openside Conor Oliver is selected at openside, while fellow St. Mary’s man Nick Timoney is promoted from the bench to blindside.

On the bench, Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale and Conor Young, Leinster’s Andrew Porter and Connacht’s Stephen McVeigh feature for the first time in the Six Nations.

Table U20s The U20s table with two games remaining. Source: RBS Six Nations

“It was disappointing to lose to England in the last round, but we have put that behind us now in preparation for Wales,” said Carolan.

“We have addressed the key areas that were highlighted against England and hopefully we can take our chances when they come along. The championship is still there for the taking and we look forward to getting it back on track this Friday.”

Ireland U20s to face Wales:

15. Billy Dardis (UCD/ Leinster)
14. Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht)
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
12. Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
11. Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster)
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. Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht)
5. Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)
6. Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
7. Conor Oliver (St. Mary’s/ Leinster)
8. Lorcan Dow (QUB/Ulster)

Replacements:

16. Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)
17. Andrew Porter (UCD/ Leinster)
18. Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht)
19. David O’Connor (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
20. Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers/ Connacht)
21. Conor Young (QUB/Ulster)
22. Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (QUB/Ulster)

*******************

Jackie Shiels Jackie Shiels returns in the centre for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Meanwhile, Ireland Women have made just one enforced change to the team that beat England last time out as they get set to face Wales in Swansea RFC on Sunday afternoon [KO 12.00, RTE 2FM and live stream at www.IrishRugby.ie].

Centre Katie Fitzhenry has been ruled out with an ankle injury, meaning Jackie Sheils starts and Aoife Doyle is named on the bench.

“It was great to get a win against England a fortnight ago, and has left us in a good position for the final two rounds of the championship, but we are always looking for improvements,” said head coach Tom Tierney.

Table The Women's table with two games remaining. Source: RBS Six Nations

“We are not underestimating Wales, they are a strong side and we have no doubt they will bring their all with them for the home crowd. If we do the small things right we will be in good shape.”

Ireland Women to face Wales:

15. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemian/ Munster) (captain)
14. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
13. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
12. Jackie Shiels (Richmond/ Exiles)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
9. Larissa Muldoon (Skewen RFC)

1. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/ Connacht)
2. Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo RFC)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
4. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
6. Paula Fitzpatrick (St Marys/ Leinster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/ Connacht)
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield/ Munster)

Replacements:

16. Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exiles)
17. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
18. Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
19. Orla Fitzsimons (St Marys/ Leinster)
20. Katie Norris (Blackrock / Leinster)
21. Tania Rosser (Blackrock/ Leinster)
22. Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
23. Aoife Doyle (Shannon/ Munster)

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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