Ireland u/20 has selected a side with only three starters that played for Ireland u/20 during 2018. Flyhalf Harry Byrne, who wins his 11th cap at this level, hooker Dylan Tierney Martin and lock Charlie Ryan returns – and the matchday squad has a combination of All-Ireland League and provincial ‘A’ and senior experience behind him.
Behind the scrum, the family affair continues with Byrne, whose older brother Ross made his Ireland senior debut in November, teaming up with former Ireland Under-18 Schools captain Craig Casey at half-back. Casey and Ryan are vice-captains of the U-20 squad, supporting newly-appointed skipper David Hawkshaw.
"The players have prepared very well since we first came together before Christmas. We had a good camp last week in Cork and are looking forward to the challenge that England will bring this Friday night." said head coach Noel McNamara.
“We have a very talented group of players in the squad, and there were a number of tight calls on selection for this game. There’s a lot of rugby to be played over the coming weeks and months, so the competitiveness in the squad is a real positive and bodes well for the season ahead.
“Everyone involved is excited to be heading to Irish Independent Park for this opening fixture. It’s a great venue with a nice fast pitch, and we’re looking forward to getting the campaign underway in front of an energetic and lively crowd in Cork.”
Ireland u/20 Team v England u/20
15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster), 14. Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster), 13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster), 12. David Hawkshaw (Clontarf/Leinster) (capt), 11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster), 10. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster), 9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster), 8. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster), 7. Scott Penny (UCD/Leinster), 6. Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 5. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht), 4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), 3. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster), 2. Dylan Tierney Martin (Corinthians/Connacht), 1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster).
Replacements: 16. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 17. Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster), 18. Ryan Lomas (Galwegians/Connacht), 19. Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster), 20. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster), 21. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), 22. Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster), 23. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)