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The teams have been announced for Friday nights U20 Six Nations fixture between Ireland and Wales which takes place at Irish Independent Park, kick off 19:15.

The match features first v last in terms of league standings, though how relative this is at the start of the campaign is a moot point.

TEAMPLWDLPFPADIFFTFTATBLBPTS
 Ireland110038261264105
 England11002924542105
 Italy11001771011004
 France10012429-524011
 Scotland10012638-1246101
 Wales1001717-1011000

If anything, the pressure to perform is probably piling on the Irish lads who will be looking to go seven games undefeated in this competition and it must be remembered that Wales outperformed Ireland in the intervening U20 Rugby World Championships, but six months is a long time at this level.

Wales head coach Gareth Williams has made three changes to the starting line-up as Bristol Bear’s Ioan Lloyd gets his first cap and loose-head prop Theo Bevacqua and hooker Will Griffiths come into the front row.

Ireland have made two changes to their starting line up with Larne man Ben Moxam (Ballymena) coming in for his first cap, replacing the injured Ethan McIlroy. Marcus Hanan (Old Belvedere) comes into the front row with Charlie Ward dropping to the bench. Ireland have made a further two changes on the bench with Harry Noonan (Old Wesley RFC) and Cian Prendergast (UCD) joining the squad.

With Moxam replacing McIlroy the Ulster contingent remains at five as Hayden Hyde (Ballynahinch), Lewis Finlay (Malone), Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch) and David McCann (Banbridge) all retain their places in the starting line up.

The Irish pack, and a virtuoso performance from out half  Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution), powered Ireland over the line last week against a rebuilding Scottish side, who slipped out of the U20 World Rugby Championships over the summer.

It’s difficult to gauge the standard year on year in this competition, and team performances can change dramatically game to game, but I suspect that Ireland will look to put in a more expansive game this time round, albeit against a Welsh side who were well beaten by good looking Italy last week.

It’s a game that Ireland will have targeted for a win and they should get it. With tougher tests against France and England, away, and Italy, at home, Ireland should be looking at this game as a chance to add to their attacking options.

Let’s see how it goes.

IRELAND U20WALES U20
Oran McNulty15Ioan Lloyd
Ben Moxham14Daniel John
Dan Kelly13Osian Knott
Hayden Hyde12Aneurin Owen
Andrew Smith11Ewan Rosser
Jack Crowley10Sam Costelow
Lewis Finlay9Dafydd Buckland
Marcus Hanan1Theo Bevacqua
Tom Stewart2Will Griffiths
Tom Clarkson3Ben Warren
Thomas Ahern4Jac Price
Brian Deeny5Ben Carter
Sean O’Brien6Ioan Davies
Mark Hernan7Jac Morgan
David McCann8Morgan Strong
John McKee16Dom Booth
Harry Noonan17Callum Williams
Charlie Ward18Archie Griffin
Joe McCarthy19James Fender
Cian Prendergast20Gwilym Bradley
Ben Murphy21Ellis Bevan
Tim Corkery22Bradley Roderick
Luis Faria23Josh Thomas
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