Clarke makes four changes as Ireland face must-win battle

IRELAND Under-20 coach Allen Clarke has made four changes to his side as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat to France against England this afternoon.

Wing Darren Hudson is ruled out with a shoulder injury, meaning Andrew Conway moves to the flank with Noel Reid starting at full-back.

Brendan Macken replaces Eoin Griffin in the centre, with Cork Constitution lock Brian Hayes coming in to replace Ben Marshall in the engine room.

England coach Mark Mapletoft has made a sweeping 10 changes to the team that hammered Argentina and dropping hat-trick hero Jonny May to the bench.

It could be a masterstroke as a four-day turnaround is tough for players at any level, but the changes could equally prove to be disruptive – especially against an Ireland team that comprehensively won out on the last occasion the sides met.

Leinster prospect Conway scored two of Ireland’s three tries in that 25-10 win at Kingsholm Gloucester and has fond memories of facing the English.

Ireland had bounced back from a crushing defeat to France in February, and the 18-year-old flyer is hoping facing England again will have similar consequences. “That was a brilliant night,” Conway said. “After the French match in the Six Nations we lost a bit of confidence. But the coaches brought us back up, we knew we could still win it. We were on our way to England, every one loves going to play England and there’s no extra need to get up for it.

“My first try was offside so we were pretty lucky with that and the other try was set up brilliantly by Darren Hudson. You’d have to ask the England coach if I’m going to be a marked man, but hopefully there’ll still be a few places to have a go.

“They have a big pack and their backline’s dangerous. They have a few Premiership players in there and are experienced enough. For us we’ve got a few new faces in the backline and positional switches that they wouldn’t have seen before, so hopefully that works well.”

The English made a sluggish start against Argentina and conceded three early tries to Los Pumitas.

They recovered to eventually run out 48-22 winners, but Clarke saw enough to indicate some defensive weakness.

After being heavily penalised at the breakdown, the Irish are focusing on the referee while Clarke is hopeful his side can show more composure at key times of the game.

“We’ll be aiming to attack England in the areas we have identified and obviously Argentina scoring three tries shows you what’s possible if you go at that team,” he said.

IRELAND: N Reid (UCD/Leinster); A Conway (Blackrock/Leinster); B Macken (Blackrock/Leinster), N Spence (Ballynahinch/Ulster), S Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); I McKinney (QUB/Ulster, J Cooney (UCD/Leinster); J O’Connell (Lansdowne/Leinster), N Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), S Maguire (Old Belvedere/Leinster); D O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), B Marshall (UCD/Leinster), R Ruddock (capt) (UCD/Leinster), D Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster), P Butler (Shannon/Munster).

Replacements: D Doyle (UCD/Leinster), B Cagney (UCC/Munster), B Marshall (UCD/Leinster), B O’Hara (UL Bohemian/Munster), M Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), D McSharry (UCD/Leinster), E Griffin (Corinthians/Connacht).

ENGLAND: T Homer (London Irish); C Wade (Wasps), A Forsyth (Leicester), T Casson (Harlequins), S Smith (Harlequins); R Clegg (Harlequins), C Davies (Stade Francais); L Imolek (Sale), J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Bristol); G Kruis (Saracens), C Matthews (Harlequins); J Gibson (London Irish), J Rowan (capt, Leeds), Alex Gray (Newcastle).

Replacements: R Buchanan (Harlequins), J Marler (Harlequins), C Green (Leicester), J Wray (Saracens), S Harrison (Leicester), F Burns (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester).

More in this section

CourtsRugbyPlace: EnglandPerson: ClarkePerson: Allen ClarkePerson: Darren HudsonPerson: Andrew ConwayPerson: Noel ReidPerson: Brendan MackenPerson: Eoin GriffinPerson: Brian HayesPerson: Ben MarshallPerson: Mark MapletoftPerson: Jonny MayPerson: ConwayPerson: EnglishPerson: Los PumitasPerson: N ReidPerson: A ConwayPerson: B MackenPerson: N SpencePerson: S ZeboPerson: I McKinneyPerson: J CooneyPerson: J O’ConnellPerson: N AnnettPerson: S MaguirePerson: D O’CallaghanPerson: B MarshallPerson: R RuddockPerson: D RyanPerson: P ButlerPerson: D DoylePerson: B CagneyPerson: B O’HaraPerson: M HeaneyPerson: D McSharryPerson: E GriffinPerson: T HomerPerson: C WadePerson: T CassonPerson: S SmithPerson: R CleggPerson: C DaviesPerson: L ImolekPerson: J GeorgePerson: M VunipolaPerson: G KruisPerson: C MatthewsPerson: J GibsonPerson: J RowanPerson: Alex GrayPerson: R BuchananPerson: J MarlerPerson: C GreenPerson: J WrayPerson: S HarrisonPerson: F BurnsPerson: J MayEvent: Six NationsOrganisation: IrelandOrganisation: FranceOrganisation: EnglandOrganisation: Cork ConstitutionOrganisation: ArgentinaOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: IrishOrganisation: UCDOrganisation: BlackrockOrganisation: BallynahinchOrganisation: UlsterOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: QUBOrganisation: LansdowneOrganisation: Belfast HarlequinsOrganisation: Old BelvedereOrganisation: ShannonOrganisation: UCCOrganisation: UL BohemianOrganisation: CorinthiansOrganisation: ConnachtOrganisation: London IrishOrganisation: WaspsOrganisation: LeicesterOrganisation: HarlequinsOrganisation: Stade FrancaisOrganisation: SaleOrganisation: SaracensOrganisation: BristolOrganisation: LeedsOrganisation: NewcastleOrganisation: Gloucester
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