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U-21s make two changes for Six Nations opener

THE IRISH team to play Italy tomorrow night in the opening game of the U21 Six Nations Championship shows two personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that started and beat Leinster ‘A’ 40-12 last month.

Peter Durcan moves from the right to the left wing, with Matthew Williams taking the vacant right wing spot. Jonathon Sexton, who missed the Leinster game due to an ankle injury, is named at outhalf and his deputy for the Leinster game, Conan Doyle, moves to the centre in favour of Fergus McFadden, who moves to the replacements.

The game will be live on RTÉ 2 from Dubarry Park (7.35pm), the home of the U21s for this year’s Six Nations Championship, with games against Wales and Scotland to be played there.

Ireland Coach Mark McDermott said: "I think Italy is well up there with all the top sides at this level with their physicality, but in saying that, they also have a bit of flair to add to it. Our approach will be to try and get our patterns in place early on and then play from there. I think we started to reach the levels we wanted during our last game, so hopefully we can hit the ground running."

IRELAND (U21 v Italy): F Carr (Blackrock College), M Williams (Bristol Shoguns/Hartpury College), D Cave (Belfast Harlequins), C Doyle (Garryowen), P Durcan (Galwegians), J Sexton (St. Mary’s College), P Marshall (Ballynahinch), D Hurley (UCC), S Philpott (Belfast Harlequins) Captain, P Doran-Jones (Dublin University), D Toner (Lansdowne) D Touhy (Gloucester/Hartpury College), R Noonan (UCC), E Uzoigwe (Hartpury College), B Holland (UCC).

Replacements: S Cronin (Shannon); C Black (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury College); D McGowan (Buccaneers); S O’Brien (UCD); D Williams (UCC); T Gleeson (Cork Con); R McFadden (UCD).