IRELAND boss Richie Murphy will rely on Grand Slam experience when his side take on France in the Six Nations Under-20s Summer Series today.
reland’s starting XV against Les Bleus will feature 14 members of the squad that secured a Six Nations Under-20s Grand Slam in February.
The game at the Payanini Rugby Center will see the top two from February’s 2022 Six Nations Under-20s Championship go head to head.
The last time the two sides met saw Ireland move one step closer to the Grand Slam with a dramatic 17-16 win over hosts France at the Stade Maurice David.
Winger Shay McCarthy is in line for his Ireland U20s debut in the back three, the only player in the starting team without a Grand Slam to his name.
Leinster winger Aitzol King returns to Ireland’s starting line-up, having faced France in February, while Dylan O’Grady completes an all-Leinster back three.
Fionn Gibbons, an outstanding performer for Ireland during the Championship, partners Daniel Hawkshaw in midfield, while the Munster duo of Tony Butler and Ethan Coughlan are the half-backs.
Darragh McSweeney and Oisin Michel will stand on either side of the versatile hooker James McCormick.
And in the second row, Ireland will be able to rely on Conor O’Tighearnaigh and exiting Ulster forward Adam McNamee.
Captain Reuben Crothers, James McNabney and Lorcan McLoughlin make up the back row ahead of Ireland’s first match of the Summer Series.
For France, Max Auriac, Ethan Randle and Louis Bielle-Biarrey make up a mouthwatering Les Bleus back three.
In the centres, skipper Emilien Gailleton is partnered by Nicolas Depoortere.
They will be fed by fly-half Léo Barre and livewire nine Baptiste Jauneau.
Thomas Moukoro, Sa, and Eliott Yemsi make up the front row with locks Samuel M’Foudi and Léo Labarthe ready behind them.
While Noé Della Schiava, Maxime Baudonne, and Killian Tixeront will start in the back row
France will be out for revenge against Ireland in Italy, and hooker Connor Sa emphasized how challenging the France training camps can be in building up competitions like the Six Nations Summer Series.
He said: “With all these camps, it really puts you in a different place, it puts you into a professional area and pushes you in a different zone.
“When you’re with a club, you really know everyone whereas when you’re with the French team it’s different – it’s more serious and more concentrated.”
The Six Nations U20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit here.
Ireland: 15. Dylan O’Grady, 14. Aitzol King, 13. Fionn Gibbons, 12. Daniel Hawkshaw, 11. Shay McCarthy, 10. Tony Butler, 9. Ethan Coughlan; 1. Oisin Michel, 2. James McCormick, 3. Darragh McSweeney, 4. Conor O’Tighearnaigh, 5. Adam McNamee, 6. James McNabney, 7. Reuben Crothers 8. Lorcan McLoughlin
Replacements: 16. Josh Hanlon, 17. George Hadden, 18. Kieran Ryan, 19. Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster) 20. Diarmuid Mangan, 21. Michael Moloney, 22. Sam Prendergast, 23. George Coomber, 24. Reece Malone, 25. George Shaw, 26. Ronan O’Sullivan
French: 15. Max Auriac, 14. Ethan Randle, 13. Emilien Gailleton (c), 12. Nicolas Depoortere, 11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10. Léo Barre, 9. Baptiste Jauneau, 1. Thomas Moukoro, 2. Connor Sa, 3. Eliott Yemsi, 4. Samuel M’Foudi, 5. Léo Labarthe, 6. Noé Della Schiava, 7. Maxime Baudonne, 8. Killian Tixeront.
Replacements: 16. Victor Montgaillard, 17. Pierre-Emmanuel Pacheco, 18. Robin Bellemand, 19. Raphael Portat, 20. Léo Banos, 21. Jules Coulon, 22. Simon Tarel, 23. Matéo Garcia, 24. Malohi Suta, 25. Émile Dayral, 26. Gatien Masse