John_s_version_3The Irish Under 20’s have largely been a delight this season playing a refreshingly adventurous style of rugby.

Sure they have lost two out of three games, largely through self inflicted errors, but the losses have been for the right reasons  and it was particularly pleasing that it all came together in their impressive second half comeback against England a fortnight ago. 

Coach Nigel Carolan has admirably stuck to his guns and whoever he’s had to slot in, through injury or availability issues, have all bought in to the same attacking style. 

In tonight’s team Brett Connon make his U20’s debut at full back, Connor O’Brien is moved to the centre, making way for Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale to start on the wing for the first time this season, and John Polland has reclaimed the scrum half berth after an injury to Stephen Kerins. 

Niall Saunders takes Polland’s spot on the bench where he joins Hugo Keane and Paul Kiernan who are included in the squad for the first time this season. Max Deegan and Terry Kennedy return to the squad after injuries picked up against France. 

Looking forward to this one tonight (Kick off 7:35pm live on RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only)) and I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on Ulster youngsters Johnny McPhillips, Adam McBurney and Stokdale. I’ll be particularly interested to see how Stockdale performs in this risk taking back line. 🙂

IRELAND   ITALY
Brett Connon 15 Matteo Minozzi
Hugo Keenan 14 Pierre Bruno
Shane Daly 13 Roberto dal Zilio
Conor O’Brien 12 Marco Zanon
Jacob Stockdale 11 Luca Spernandio
Johnny McPhilips 10 Leonardo Mantelli
John Polland 9 Vinceno Trussardi
Andrew Porter 1 Daniele Rimpelli
Adam McBurney 2 Marco Manfredi
Conán O’Donnell 3 Marco Riccioni
Peter Claffey 4 Leonard Krumov
James Ryan 5 Samuele Ortis
Cillian Gallagher 6 Giovanni Pettinelli
Will Connors 7 Davide Ciotoli
Greg Jones 8 Gabriele Venditti
     
Hugo Kean 16 Nicolo Broglia
James Bollard 17 Giovanni Amendola
Ben Betts 18 Giosue Zilocchi
Sean O’Connor 19 Lorenzo Robin Masselli
Max Deegan 20 Michael de Marco
Niall Saunders 21 Giovanni Lucchin
Paul Kiernan 22 Marcello Angelini
Terry Kennedy 23 Lorenzo Masato

#SUFTUM