Ulster’s Jonny Stewart is one of four Ulster players named in the Ireland team to start the second match of the World Rugby U20 Championships against South Africa.
Matthew Agnew, James and Joe Dunleavy are the other Ulster players in the starting team while Aaron Hall is the sole Ulster representative on the bench.
Noel McNamara makes just one change to the forward pack as Matthew Dalton is replaced in the second row by Cormac Daly. Jordan Duggan starts at loosehead after coming in for James French who injured his knee in the warm up against France. Diarmuid Barron and Jack Aungier round off the front row. A back row of Joe Dunleavy, Matthew Agnew and Caelan Doris remains unchanged. Doris captains the side.
Jonny Stewart forms a new half back partnership with Conor Dean with both Hugh O’Sullivan and Harry Byrne dropping to the bench. Tommy O’Brien remains at outside centre but is partnered by Banbridge’s James Hume at inside centre who is set to make his debut in the competition. Sean O’Brien replaces the injured Dan Hurley while Michael Silvester and Tom Roche remain at fullback and on the right wing respectively.
Prior to Ireland’s match against France on Wednesday, South Africa kicked off their campaign against Georgia. South African out half, Damian Willemse favoured a running game and took advantage of a Georgian rush defence. Willemse’s talent has seen him tipped for stardom especially after making his debut for the Stormers, aged just 18. While the Babyboks liked to get the ball into the wide channels early, they did seem vulnerable when Georgia did the same – Sandro Svanidze made an incisive break down the right wing and the move culminated in Lasha Lomidze gathering a grubber kick from Tedo Abzhandadze to score.
In the second row, team captain Salman Moerat and Ruan Nortje led from the front in a dominant maul over their counterparts, while Willemse was bright and topped the ball carrying statistics. Moerat was impressive in his ball carrying while was also a threat at the breakdown. Tyrone Green scored one try and made the most for South Africa with 58. He also liked to get the ball from first receiver off set pieces in the previous game with Willemse moving into the centre which gave South Africa the opportunity to get their out half on the ball in the middle of the pitch. From there Willemse played with his head up and would attempt a line break if the opportunity was there.
Ireland’s forwards impressed on Wednesday and their maul was a dangerous attacking outlet. I don’t think they will get as much joy from it out of the South Africans but I do think Ireland have the ability to make line breaks out wide.
The FRU predicts: A must win game for Ireland against opposition who will be expected to head into a final round shoot out against France for first place in the pool. I’m sure it will be a similarly tight game as round one, but I am tipping South Africa by a couple of points.
|Gianni Lombard||15||Michael Silvester|
|Tyrone Green||14||Tom Roche|
|Wandisile Simelane||13||Tommy O’Brien|
|Lyle Hendricks||12||James Hume|
|Muller du Plessis||11||Sean O’Brien|
|Damian Willemse||10||Conor Dean|
|Zak Burger||9||Jonny Stewart|
|Nathan McBeth||1||Jordan Duggan|
|Daniel Jooste||2||Diarmuid Barron|
|Asenathi Ntlabakanye||3||Jack Aungier|
|Salmaan Moerat||4||Cormac Daly|
|Ruan Nortje||5||Jack Dunne|
|Dian Schoonees||6||Joe Dunleavy|
|Ben-Jason Dixon||7||Matthew Agnew|
|Muller Uys||8||Caelan Doris|
|Schalk Erasmus||16||Dan Sheehan|
|Alulutho Tshakweni||17||Bryan O’Connor|
|Sazi Sandi||18||Joe Byrne|
|Ruan Vermaak||19||Charlie Ryan|
|PJ Steenkamp||20||Aaron Hall|
|Rewan Kruger||21||Hugh O’Sullivan|
|Lulbabalo Dobela||22||Harry Byrne|
|Manuel Rass||23||James McCarthy|