U-20 Coach Mike Ruddock has made five changes to the starting XV for this game which will decide where in the playoffs Ireland will compete.

The team sheet see’s five of Ulster’s youngsters return to the starting line but Ulster’s Young Player of the Season Craig Gilroy is benched after some indifferent displays.

Up front Iain Henderson returns at lock alongside Michael Kearney while in the back row Dominic Gallagher comes in at openside with Jordi Murphy moving to No. 8.

There are three changes in the back line which sees the return of Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall at fly half and first centre while Andrew Boyle will start on the left wing.

Speaking from the team base Mike Ruddock said:

Following two very physical battles we have turned our attention to a Scotland team that is much improved from the 6 Nations.

They played very well against England and play a very expansive off loading game. We will have to be at our best to beat them and that is our goal.

I have made five changes to the starting line up with experienced players like Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Andrew Boyle coming back into the team.

Ruddock has it exactly right in that this is a vastly improved Scotland, though it has yet to be seen how much their effort against England has taken out of them.

Looking at the team list it looks as though Ireland  are going to play an open attacking game from the off with Jackson and Marshall getting another chance to weave their magic in the centre of the park and this time the flicks, switches and flat passes need to come off or the Irish lads could find themselves in difficulty against a Scottish side that likes to counter, and in Duncan Weir the Scots have a player that could turn the game on it’s head.

Despite the Scot’s valiant efforts against England this is really a match that Ireland should win. The Irish pack have shown, in the matches against England and South Africa, that they can man up, with their scrummaging being one of the most pleasing aspects of the campaign so far. If the front five can dominate their opponents and sort out their poor, poor, lineouts there is a chance that they could run away with this one.

This will be the first time that the weight of expectation rests on the young Irish shoulders with, in fairness, the Ulster lads taking a fair bit of the weight, but we’re now three games into the tournament and I’d be very, very disappointed if Ireland didn’t have too much in the tank for the Scots.

Ireland (1-15) James Tracy, Niall Annett (C), Tadhg Furlong, Michael Kearney, Iain Henderson, Eoin McKeon, Dominic Gallagher, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Andrew Boyle, Luke Marshall, Brendan Macken, Andrew Conway, Tiernan O’Halloran. (16-22) David Doyle, Conor Carey, Daniel Qualter, Shane Buckley, Peter Du Toit, James McKinney, Craig Gilroy.

Scotland: (1-15) Alex Allan, David Cherry, Colin Phillips, Mitch Todd, Robert McAlpine, Mitch Eadie, Hamish Watson, James Tyas, Sean Kennedy, Duncan Weir (C), Kerr Gossman, Danny Gilmour, Mark Bennett, Sam Atkin, Glenn Bryce. (16-22) Richard Ferguson, George Hunter, Robin Hislop, Jamie Swanson, Jamie Stevenson, Stuart Edwards, Alex Spence.

2 Comments

  1. I think the description of gilroy’s performance as indifferent is extremely harsh in fact he was one of the better backs against England even playing out of position.

    He was unfortunate against SA in that his one scoring chance from a cross field kick from Conway was inadequate . Conway’s kick should have been directed at an area just short of the far post rather than a kick for Gilroy to run onto and catch as such the kick was five yards to far in front of Gilroy who had to let it bounce and on a hard pitch the bounce was unpreditable.

    Conway of course recieves the praise for the opportunity created by his break but his inexperience and execution of the cross kick also made it an opportunity lost.

    • I’m afraid Gilroy’s performances have not been up to his own high standards by any stretch of the imagination. He had plenty of chances with ball in hand in both games as hasn’t looked anything like as effective as he can be, or even as effective as the other members of the back 3. It’s no surprise if he’s a bit jaded after the season he’s had – remember it started way back in July at the Aviva Opener.

      To try and apportion blame on Conway is churlish to say the least.