The Ireland U20 team to take on England U20 on Friday, 26th February in Kingston Park, Newcastle has been named.

Head Coach Nigel Carolan has made a number of changes to the side that started against France two weeks ago.

In the backs, there is a change at half-back, where Sligo and Connacht scrum-half Stephen Kerins makes his first 6 Nations start, having been used as a replacement in the opening two games. Jack Power has also recovered from injury and comes back into the side at full-back, with Hugo Keenan shifting back to the wing and Matthew Byrne moving to the replacements.

Up front, Sligo’s Conán O’Donnell returns to the starting line up in place of Conor Kenny who misses the game through injury. His place in the side is taken by Young Munster’s Ben Betts, who will win his first U20 cap should he be called upon from the bench.

In the back-row, Greg Jones is set to win his first Ireland U20 cap on Friday as he replaces the injured Max Deegan at number 8, while Will Connors has also recovered from injury and comes back into the team at flanker.

Speaking ahead of the game, Carolan said: “We were disappointed with the result in France last time out. We started the game well, but we let things slip away from us before half-time and never managed to recover.

“Looking towards England on Friday, we are expecting a tough encounter in Newcastle. The English side made up for their opening loss to Scotland with a convincing win against Italy so we are prepared for them to be coming into this game full of confidence.”

The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm.

Ireland U20 side v England U20, Kingston Park, Newcastle, Friday, 26th February, KO 6.05pm
15. Jack Power (UCD / Leinster)
14. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)

13. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
12. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)
11. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)

10. Johnny McPhillips (QUB / Ulster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)
1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Conán O’Donnell (Sligo / Connacht)
4. Peter Claffey (Galwegians / Connacht)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Captain
6. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
7. Will Connors (UCD / Leinster)
8. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)*


16. Shane Fenton (Young Munster / Munster)
17. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
18. Ben Betts (Munster / Young Munster)*
19. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
20. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)
21. John Poland (Cork Con / Munster)
22. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
23. Matthew Byrne (Terenure / Leinster)
*Denotes Uncapped at this level
Not Considered

Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster) – injured
John Foley (Shannon / Munster) – injured
Conor Kenny (Buccaneers / Connacht) – injured
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster) – involved with Ulster
Robert Lyttle (Queens University / Ulster) – involved with Ulster