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22 Jan 2022

Offaly man to start for Ireland U20s against Wales in Six Nations

Offaly star to play for Ireland U20s in Six Nations

Ronan Loughnane, left, and Ben Murphy of Ireland U20 during the match between Ireland U20 and Leinster A at Energia Park in Dublin in May. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Head Coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland U20s Match Day squad for Friday night's U20 Six Nations Round 2 clash against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park (Kick-off 8pm, live on RTÉ 2 and on Six Nations YouTube and Facebook Channels in the UK).

The side includes Birr man Ronan Loughnane who will start as hooker again after starting in Ireland's opening round over Scotland last weekend.

Murphy has, however, made six changes elsewhere in personnel to his starting XV for Friday's showdown against the hosts.

Alex Kendellen, who was Player of the Match in Round 1, once again captains the side from the back row as Ireland bid to make it two wins from two in Cardiff.

There are three changes in Ireland's backline with Chris Cosgrave named to start on the left-wing, while Nathan Doak and Tim Corkery come in at scrum-half and out-half respectively.

Former St Michael's man Cosgrave is joined in the back three by Jamie Osborne and Ben Moxham, with the all-Connacht midfield partnership of Cathal Forde and Shane Jennings remaining unchanged.

There are two alterations in Ireland's front row as Jack Boyle and Mark Donnelly are promoted off the bench to start either side of Offaly man Ronan Loughnane, while Alex Soroka switches from the back row to join Harry Sheridan in the second row.

With Soroka moving to number four, Donnacha Byrne comes in at blindside flanker alongside Oisin McCormack and Kendellen in the back row, with Murphy also shuffling his resources on the replacements bench.

The Ulster trio of George Saunderson, Jude Postlethwaite and Conor Rankin are included in the Match Day squad for the first time, while Munster's Fearghail O'Donoghue - who has been called up to replace the injured Darragh Murray - could also make his Ireland U20s debut.

Commenting ahead of the game, Murphy said: "We were pleased to get off to a winning start last weekend but the very nature of this Championship means you have to turn the page quickly and focus on the next challenge. We identified areas of our game that needed improvement after Scotland and we have been working on them this week. Wales will be a tough test at their home ground but the group are looking forward to the challenge and building on last week's performance."

Friday night's game is live on RTÉ 2 for viewers in the Republic of Ireland while there will be coverage on the Six Nations YouTube and Facebook channels for supporters in the UK.

Ireland U20s (v Wales):

15. Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)
14. Ben Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
13. Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
12. Cathal Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
11. Chris Cosgrave (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
10. Tim Corkery (St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny/UCD RFC/Leinster)
9. Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)

1. Jack Boyle (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
2. Ronan Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster)
3. Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Garryowen RFC/Munster)
4. Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
5. Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster)
6. Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht)
7. Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
8. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)(Captain).

Replacements:

16. Eoin de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiáran/An Ghaeltacht/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
17. George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
18. Sam Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
19. Mark Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
20. Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
21. Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
22. Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
23. Jude Postlethwaite (RBAI/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
24. Fearghail O'Donoghue (Cashel Community School/Cashel RFC/Munster)
25. Daniel Okeke (Ard Scoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster)
26. Conor Rankin (Campbell College Belfast/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)

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