Head Coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland team for Wednesday’s U-20 Six Nations Round 4 clash against Italy at Cardiff Arms Park (KO 2pm, live on RTÉ2 and Six Nations YouTube channel for viewers in the UK).

Captain Alex Kendellen shifts to openside flanker as Murphy manages his resources and makes nine changes in personnel to his starting XV for Ireland’s fourth game of the 2021 Championship in Cardiff.

With Kendellen switching to the number seven jersey, powerful Munster back row Daniel Okeke comes in to win his first start of the campaign at No 8, with Alex Soroka named at blindside as Ireland bid to bounce back from the Round 3 defeat to England.

There are three further changes in personnel in the pack, with George Saunderson and Eoin de Buitléar selected in the front row and Mark Morrissey returning to the second row alongside Harry Sheridan.

James Humphreys has recovered from a facial injury sustained in the opening win over Scotland to start at out-half, while Nathan Doak continues in the number nine jersey.

There is a new-look Ireland midfield with Ulster duo Jude Postlethwaite and Ben Carson in line for their full debuts having featured off the bench during the opening three rounds of action.

Leinster’s Jamie Osborne makes his third start of the Championship at full-back, with Conor Rankin and Chay Mullins named on the wings for the meeting with the Azzurri.

Commenting ahead of the game, Murphy said: “We’ve had to dust ourselves down following the disappointment of last week and the focus of the group has been really good as we bid to bounce back against Italy. It has been a demanding schedule but this presents players with opportunities and there are a number of guys who have worked really hard to earn their selection this week. We’re looking forward to seeing them in action in the green jersey.”

Ireland U-20s (v Italy):

15. Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)
14. Conor Rankin (Campbell College Belfast/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
13. Jude Postlethwaite (RBAI/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
12. Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
11. Chay Mullins (SGC Filton/Bristol Bears/IQ Rugby)
10. James Humphreys (Dean Close School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
9. Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)

1. George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
2. Eoin de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin/An Ghaeltacht/Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
3. Sam Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
4. Mark Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
5. Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster)
6. Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
7. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster) CAPTAIN
8. Daniel Okeke (Ardscoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster)


16. Ronan Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster)
17. Jack Boyle (St. Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
18. Liam Bishop (Trent College/Nottingham University/IQ Rugby)
19. Fearghail O’Donoghue (Cashel Community School/Cashel RFC/Munster)
20. Jack Kelleher (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)
21. Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
22. Cathal Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
23. Josh O’Connor (St Peter’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
24. Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
25. Levi Vaughan (Terenure College/Terenure RFC/Leinster)
26. Ben Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster)