Ireland u/20 is seemingly cruising to a win of the 2019 edition of the u/20 Six Nations Championship. The next two weeks will be their biggest test in this year's Championship. Head coach McNamara said that they do not look past this Friday's match against France but Wales must be in the back of his mind.
Ireland needs only one win from their remaining two matches to secure this year's u/20 Six Nations Championship France is the only team that can overtake Ireland as Wales is six log points behind Ireland at this stage, although they also only lost one match against France (10-32) in the opening round.
Ireland made only one change to the side that claimed a 34-14 bonus point win over Italy, with Cork native Sean French coming in at inside-centre in place of captain DavidHawkshaw who is ruled out with a knee injury. French has been starring for Cork Constitution of late, scoring five tries in two All-Ireland League games.
After confirming the starting line-up for the France match, 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 at Irish Independent Park on the opening night against England and are itching to get back out there this week.
“It’s really unfortunate for David Hawkshaw to miss out. He’s been in great form on the pitch and has been a fantastic leader of the side. Everyone wishes him well in his recovery. Sean French has done really well 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.”
France u/20 made eight changes to their starting line-up welcoming back all their players, who were not available due to Top 14 commitments two weeks ago in their 42-27 win against Scotland.
Sébastien Piquwronies, the French head coach said: "We are approaching this match as the fourth in our five-game winter series. Like all of our oppositions during this tournament, it will be intense. The team is preparing for this match with a lot of commitment and ambition as well. Friday night is a real test for us. In this context, we look forward to comparing ourselves to the best on the continent today. "