Shannon's Craig Casey will start at 9 for Ireland
Head Coach Noel McNamara has confirmed the Ireland U20 side, sponsored by PwC, to face France U20 this Friday night in Irish Independent Park in Cork, with Shannon duo of Jake Flannery and Craig Casey set to start alongside Young Munster prop Josh Wycherley.
There is one change to the starting side that claimed a 34-14 bonus point win over Italy, with Sean French coming into the centre in place of David Hawkshaw who is ruled out with a knee injury.
The pack is unchanged, with props Josh Wycherley and Thomas Clarkson again starting each side of hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin.
Charlie Ryan will captain the side from the second-row and is partnered by Niall Murray.
Flankers Martin Moloney and Scott Penny are named in the back-row along with Number 8 John Hodnett.
French forms a centre partnership with Liam Turner, with a back three consisting of Angus Kernohan, and Jonathan Wren on the wings and Jake Flannery at full-back.
Ryan Baird is named amongst the replacements and will be hopeful of winning his first U20 cap on Friday night.
On confirmation of the side, McNamara said;
“We were pleased to come home from Italy with a bonus point win, but there are still elements that we feel can be improved on, so it’s about continuing to progress as we move through the tournament.
The French are still in the hunt for the title and they are a big side, so for us it’s about sticking to our game plan and looking to match their physicality
The players took so much from the atmosphere in Irish Independent Park on the opening night of the Championship against England and are itching to get back out there this week.”
On the loss of Hawkshaw, McNamara added;
“It’s really unfortunate for David to miss out. He has been in great form on the pitch and has been a fantastic leader of the side over the course of the campaign and everyone wishes him well in his recovery.
Sean French comes into the side and he has done really well for his club in the All-Ireland League over the last few weeks, so we know he has the ability to perform in front of his home crowd in Cork.”
Ireland U20 v France U20, (U20 Six Championship, Irish Independent Park, Cork, March 8th, 2019. Kick-Off 7.15pm)
15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
14. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster)
13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster)
12. Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster)
11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster)
10. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht)
3. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster)
4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster) Captain
5. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht)
6. Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
7. Scott Penny (UCD RFC/Leinster)
8. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster)
16. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
17. Callum Reid (Banbridge/Ulster)
18. Ryan Lomas (Galwegians/Connacht)
19. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster) *
20. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster)
21. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
22. Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster)
23. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)
*Denotes uncapped at this level
Ireland U20 Six Nations Fixtures and Results 2019
Friday 1st February 2019
Ireland U20 35 – 27 England U20, Irish Independent Park, Cork
Friday 8th February 2019
Scotland U20 5 – 24 Ireland U20, Netherdale, Galashiels
Friday 22nd February 2019
Italy U20 14 – 34 Ireland U20, Stadio Centro d’Italia, Rieti
Friday 8th March 2019
Ireland U20 v France U20, 7.15pm, Irish Independent Park, Cork
Live on RTE
Friday 15th March 2019
Wales U20 v Ireland U20, 7.15pm, Stadwim Zip World (Parc Eirias), Colwyn Bay
Live on RTE