FRU 10 Year LogoAnother exciting weekend of Six Nations Rugby kicks off this evening with England hosting Ireland at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Kick off 6:05, live on Sky Sports. Ireland have introduced two new players to the squad with Leinster’s Greg Jones starting at No. 8 and Munster’s Ben Betts starting on the bench. 

Ireland’s story of the Six Nations so far has been a frustrating one. They have tried to play attractive rugby but have made too many mistakes to reap the rewards that their efforts have merited. They have come in for some criticism from the powers that be but I hope that Coach Nigel Carolan continues to encourage his charges to  play an expansive game as the matches have been largely enjoyable, despite the results. It’s all about development at this age. 

As they stand:U20-Six-Nations-WK2

The player to benefit most from Carolan’s policy is Ulster’s Johnny McPhillips who, at out half, has had a mixed bag thus far with some delightful touches but also some howlers with his positional kicking. However, big boot, solid defence and all the skills, the eighteen year old is certainly worth persevering with. 

After the French game I was hopeful that Ulster might release Stockdale, Arnold and Robert Lyttle to add a touch of “experience” to the misfiring back line but sadly that is not the case. The odds swing very much in England’s favour for this one but you never know, if things go right and the passes stick this group of youngsters has the potential to cause an upset. 

The FRU Predicts: Odds are heavily in England’s favour, but what the hell, I’m going to go out on a limb here and tip Ireland U20’s to cause a major upset in a high  scoring game. 

ENGLAND   IRELAND
Tom West 15 Jack Power
Jack Singleton 14 Hugo Keenan
Will Stuart 13 Shane Daly
Huw Taylor 12 Jimmy O’Brien
George Nott 11 Conor O’Brien
Archie White 10 Johnny McPhillips
Sam Smith 9 Stephen Kerins
Callum Chick 1 Andrew Porter
Max Green 2 Adam McBurney
Mathew Protheroe 3 Conán O’Donnell
Ollie Thorley 4 Peter Claffey
Charlie Thacker 5 James Ryan
Joe Marchant 6 Cillian Gallagher
George Perkins 7 Will Connors
Max Malins 8 Greg Jones
     
Curtis Langdon 16 Shane Fenton
Jake Pope 17 James Bollard
Billy Keast 18 Ben Betts
Stan South 19 Sean O’Connor
Jack Willis 20 Kelvin Brown
Jamie Shillcock 21 John Poland
Joe Simmonds 22 Brett Connon
Paolo Odogwu 23 Matthew Byrne

#SUFTUM