2017-18 International Rugby U20 Ireland U20 South Africa U20 World Rugby U20 Championship

U20 World Championship: Teams up for South Africa v Ireland

Ulster’s Jonny Stewart is one of four Ulster players named in the Ireland team to start the second match of the World Rugby U20 Championships against South Africa.

Matthew Agnew, James Hume and Joe Dunleavy are the other Ulster players in the starting team while Aaron Hall starts from the bench.

Noel McNamara makes just one change to the forward pack as Matthew Dalton is replaced in the second row by Cormac Daly. Jordan Duggan starts at loosehead after coming in for James French who injured his knee in the warm up against France. Diarmuid Barron and Jack Aungier round off the front row. A back row of Dunleavy, Agnew and Caelan Doris remains unchanged. Doris captains the side.

Stewart forms a new half back partnership with Conor Dean with both Hugh O’Sullivan and Harry Byrne dropping to the bench. Tommy O’Brien remains at outside centre but is partnered by Banbridge’s Hume at inside centre who is set to make his debut in the competition. Sean O’Brien replaces the injured Dan Hurley while Michael Silvester and Tom Roche remain at fullback and on the right wing respectively.

Prior to Ireland’s match against France on Wednesday, South Africa kicked off their campaign against Georgia. South African out half, Damian Willemse favoured a running game and took advantage of a Georgian rush defence. Willemse’s talent has seen him tipped for stardom especially after making his debut for the Stormers, aged just 18. While the Babyboks liked to get the ball into the wide channels early, they did seem vulnerable when Georgia did the same.

In the second row, team captain Salman Moerat and Ruan Nortje led from the front in a dominant maul over their counterparts, while Willemse was bright and topped the ball carrying statistics. Moerat was impressive in his ball carrying while was also a threat at the breakdown.

Ireland’s forwards impressed on Wednesday and their maul was a dangerous attacking outlet. I don’t think they will get as much joy from it out of the South Africans but I do think Ireland have the ability to make line breaks out wide.

The FRU predicts: A must win game for Ireland against opposition who will be expected to head into a final round shoot out against France for first place in the pool. I’m sure it will be a similarly tight game as round one, but I am tipping South Africa by a couple of points.

South Africa Ireland
Gianni Lombard15Michael Silvester
Tyrone Green14Tom Roche
Wandisile Simelane13Tommy O’Brien
Lyle Hendricks12James Hume
Muller du Plessis11Sean O’Brien
Damian Willemse10Conor Dean
Zak Burger9Jonny Stewart
Nathan McBeth1Jordan Duggan
Daniel Jooste2Diarmuid Barron
Asenathi Ntlabakanye3Jack Aungier
Salmaan Moerat4Cormac Daly
Ruan Nortje5Jack Dunne
Dian Schoonees6Joe Dunleavy
Ben-Jason Dixon7Matthew Agnew
Muller Uys8Caelan Doris
Schalk Erasmus16Dan Sheehan
Alulutho Tshakweni17Bryan O’Connor
Sazi Sandi18Joe Byrne
Ruan Vermaak19Charlie Ryan
PJ Steenkamp20Aaron Hall
Rewan Kruger21Hugh O’Sullivan
Lulbabalo Dobela22Harry Byrne
Manuel Rass23James McCarthy

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