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2016-17 France U20 International Rugby U20 Ireland U20 Six Nations Under 20

Four Ulster players in U20’s to face France

The teams have been announced for the Ireland v France U20 Six Nations fixture which takes place on Friday night at Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin. Kick off 8:00pm. 

Johnny McPhillips drops out due to injury (groin) but Rob Lyttle makes his first appearance after injury and starts at full-back. Lyttle is joined in the starting line up by the impressive Jonny Steward at scrum-half with Marcus Rea making his first start, replacing the injured Cillian Gallagher, at blindside. Peter Cooper starts on the bench after missing the match against Italy due to injury. 

Normally you would say that the absence of McPhillips would be a huge loss but Ireland are fortunate that they can call on Munster’s Bill Johnston to step up.

Ireland have struggled this series against the historically weaker opposition of Scotland and Italy. However, they have recorded two away wins and sit in second place behind an impressive English side. This match against France will be their first real test and they will need to improve substantially, in all areas, if they are to come away with a win. 

The forwards had a torrid time against Italy last time out. I, for one, will be interested to see what difference Peter Cooper makes in the front row when he gets on as I think they missed him against the Italians. Historically though, Ireland do struggle at this level up front, particularly against England and the French, and often rely on their backs to get them out of trouble. 

Unfortunately, the backs have been disappointing this season. The inclusion of Lyttle should help and, with a bit of luck, Calvin Nash will show some of the form he’s shown prior to this tournament. He was a big disappointment against Italy.

France have made six changes to the team that won convincingly against Scotland. Most noticeably they have swapped out their whole back row. The French are all big boys and Ireland’s loss of Gallagher and the withdrawal of Fineen Wycherley, who’s selected for the Munster senior squad, will literally leave Ireland light but, it’s a chance for Ulster’s Rea and Leinster’s Jack Regan to step up. 

The FRU Predicts: I don’t think the home pitch and the big crowd will be enough for Ireland against a muscular French side and I think it’s a game too early for Lyttle and Johnston. France to win, with a degree of comfort. 

IRELAND FRANCE
Rob Lyttle15Romain Buros
Jordan Larmour14Faraj Fartass
Tommy O’Brien13Pierre-Louis Barassi
Ciaran Frawley12Theo Dachary
Calvin Nash11William Iraguha
Bill Johnston10Romain N’Tamack
Jonny Stewart9Arthur Retiere
Joey Conway1Kevin Tougne
Tadgh McElroy2Etienne Fourcade
Charlie Connolly3Thomas Laclayat
Jack Regan4Florian Verhaeghe
Oisin Dowling5Mickael Capelli
Marcus Rea6Dylan Cretin
Paul Boyle7Julien Ruaud
Caelan Doris8Alexandre Roumat
   
Ronan Kelleher16Leo Aouf
Rory Mulvihill17Florian Dufour
Peter Cooper18Georges-Henri Colombe
Gavin Coombes19Killian Geraci
Sean Masterson20Cameron Woki
Jack Lyons21Baptiste Couilloud
Conor Fitzgerald22Anthony Fuertes
Alex McHenry23Theo Millet

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