Leinster Academy back Aaron O’Sullivan is the latest debutant for the Ireland Under-20s at the World Rugby U-20 Championship, with head coach Noel McNamara making eight personnel changes for Monday’s 5th-8th place play-off against England in Rosario (kick-off 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time).
There are also first starts for David Ryan, the younger brother of Leinster and Ireland star James Ryan, and Tullow native Charlie Ward, who gets his opportunity at tighthead prop. Michael Milne switches to loosehead with the ever-dynamic Dylan Tierney-Martin resuming at hooker.
With Ciaran Booth (knee) and David McCann (concussion) both suffering tournament-ending injuries, Ryan Baird moves to blindside flanker and St. Mary’s College clubman Ronan Watters makes a timely return at openside. Ulster’s Azur Allison continues at number 8, fresh from scoring his first Ireland U-20 try.
Captain Charlie Ryan has Thomas Ahern, a debutant the last day, alongside him in the second row, while vice-captain Craig Casey joins his Munster Academy colleague Ben Healy at half-back. David Ryan combines with Liam Turner in midfield, and there is a fresh look to the back-three with O’Sullivan linking up with Munster duo Jake Flannery and Jonathan Wren.
The squad’s latest injury-enforced call-up is Clontarf second row Brian Deeny, who is part of a bench which includes Luke Clohessyand Max O’Reilly who both won their first caps during the 38-14 bonus point win over Italy. A victory over the English side would set up a shot at a fifth place finish against either New Zealand or Wales.
Since Wednesday’s win over Italy, we’ve decamped from our base for the pool stages in Santa Fe and made the move down to Rosario for the final two games of the competition. It’s our third encounter with England this season and we’ve a pretty good idea of what’s coming down the line.
“The players have been really focused on their rest and recovery since Wednesday with a view to being in the best possible condition ahead of tomorrow’s play-off clash.”
IRELAND UNDER-20 Team & Replacements (v England Under-20s, 2019 World Rugby U-20 Championship – 5th-8th Place Play-Off, Club Old Resian, Rosario, Argentina, Monday, June 17, kick-off 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time):
15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
14. Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD/Leinster) *
13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster) (capt)
12. David Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster)
10. Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster)
9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
1. Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht)
3. Charlie Ward (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
5. Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)
6. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
7. Ronan Watters (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
8. Azur Allison (Ballymena/Ulster)
16. Declan Adamson (Clontarf/Leinster)
17. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster)
18. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
19. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
20. Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster)
21. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht)
22. Luke Clohessy (Shannon/Munster)
24. Colm Reilly (Buccaneers/Connacht)
25. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)
26. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
27. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster)
28. Max O’Reilly (Dublin University/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player at this level