The teams have been announced for the Round 5 match in the U20 Six Nations between England U20 and Ireland U20 which takes place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Friday night, kick off 20:00.
England U20 go into the match neck and neck with France U20 at the top of the table, both on 15 points. Ireland U20 are still in with an outside chance of claiming the championship, trailing behind the top two on 12 points. However, Ireland would need a big win here and an upset in the match between Wales U20 and France U20 to finish on top.
Ireland head coach Noel McNamara has once again chosen a large contingent of Ulster players with James Hume (Banbridge), Angus Curtis (Queens), Angus Kernohan (Ballymena), Matthew Dalton (Malone), Joe Dunleavy (Malone) and Matthew Agnew (Ballymena) all starting. Somewhat surprisingly the experienced Jonny Stewart (Queens) starts from the bench as does Tom O’Toole (Banbridge).
I still expect Stewart to be first choice scrum half come the World Championship in June but my guess is his extended involvement with the Ulster senior squad is prompting McNamara to make sure O’Sullivan gets plenty of game time and rightly so.
With regards to the Ulster players Curtis and Agnew have been the stand out players to date and of the players from the other provinces Michael Silvester, Jack Aungier and Jack O’Sullivan have had exceptional tournaments.
The players do genuinely seem up for this one and they are looking forward to the game with a degree of confidence. However, there has been a general lack of attention to detail, particularly in defence and the team have shipped a lot of points, even in their wins and they will need to correct this if they are to cause an upset.
McNamara has developed a strong attacking side with excellent strength in depth who try and play rugby. They will be rueing their defeat at home to Wales, where they gave away too many soft tries in a game they could have won, but they are an entertaining side and if they sharpen their defence they do have a chance. However England would be regarded as strong favourites.
I suspect Ireland’s championship chances are over but if they produce that strong game it will set them up nicely for the World Championships and a win certainly isn’t out of the question. Hopefully it’ll be a cracker.
|England U20||Ireland U20|
|Jordan Olowofela||15||Michael Silvester|
|Gabriel Ibitoye||14||James Hume|
|Fraser Dingwall||13||Tommy O’Brien|
|Tom Hardwick||12||Angus Curtis|
|Ben Loader||11||Angus Kernohan|
|James Grayson||10||Harry Byrne|
|Ben White||9||Hugh O’Sullivan|
|Toby Trinder||1||Jordan Duggan|
|Henry Walker||2||Eoghan Clarke|
|Marcus Street||3||Jack Aungier|
|Dino Lamb||4||Matthew Dalton|
|James Scott||5||Jack Dunne|
|Josh Basham||6||Joe Dunleavy|
|Ben Earl||7||Matthew Agnew|
|Sam Moore||8||Jack O’Sullivan|
|Gabriel Oghre||16||Diarmuid Barron|
|Alex Seville||17||James French|
|Joe Heyes||18||Tom O’Toole|
|Sam Lewis||19||Ronan Coffey|
|Ted Hill||20||Sean Masterson|
|Rory Brand||21||Jonny Stewart|
|Will Butler||22||Conor Dean|
|Tom Seabrook||23||Sean O’Brien|