Five players with PRO14 caps in Ireland U20 side

Munster's Alex Kendellen to captain Richie Murphy’s team for Six Nations opener
Five players with PRO14 caps in Ireland U20 side

Munster's Alex Kendellen Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Munster back row Alex Kendellen will lead Ireland Under-20s into their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday as one of five players with PRO14 experience in Richie Murphy’s side.

The former PBC Cork captain was appointed Ireland U20 skipper last week for a condensed championship taking place in Wales this year, the original format having been jettisoned due to Covid-19 restrictions when the tournament was postponed from its original February and March window earlier this year.

Saturday’s opener at Cardiff Arms Park will be Ireland senior skills and kicking coach Murphy’s first as U20s head coach and the team’s first fixture since the 2020 championship was cancelled after three rounds in March of that year.

Kendellen, Leinster’s Jamie Osborne, Alex Soroka, and replacement Tim Corkery, and Ulster’s Ben Moxham all made their PRO14 debuts this season.

Full-back Osborne and wing Moxham are joined by Leinster wing Josh O'Connor outside an all-Connacht midfield of Cathal Forde and Shane Jennings while there’s an all-Ulster half-back pairing of scrum-half Conor McKee and out-half James Humphreys.

The theme of familiar combinations continues in the pack with a Leinster front row of Temi Lasisi, Ronan Loughnane and Sam Illo.

Mark Morrissey of Leinster and Ulster’s Harry Sheridan form the second row with Soroka at blindside flanker, Connacht's Oisin McCormack on the openside and Kendellen at number eight.

Teams are able to name 11 replacements of which coaches are permitted to use eight substitutes.

IRELAND U20: J Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster); B Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster), S Jennings (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht), C Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Corinthians RFC/Connacht), J O'Connor (St Peter’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster); J Humphreys (Dean Close School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster), C McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster); T Lasisi (CBS Enniscorthy/Lansdowne FC/Leinster), R Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster), S Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster); M Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster), H Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster); A Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster), O McCormack (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht), A Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster) - captain.

Replacements: E de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiáran/An Ghaeltacht/Corinthians RFC/Connacht), J Boyle (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster), M Donnelly (CBC Cork/Garryowen RFC/Munster), J Kelleher (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster), R Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster), W Reilly (CBS Portlaoise/MU Barnhall/Leinster), T Corkery (St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny/UCD RFC/Leinster), C Cosgrave (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster), D Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht), B Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster), D Okeke (Ard Scoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster).

SCOTLAND U20: O Melville (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors); F Callaghan (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), S King (Heriot’s Rugby/Edinburgh), E Groulay (Sale Sharks), M Gray (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors); C Scott (Southern Knights/Edinburgh), M Redpath (Newcastle University); C Lamberton (Watsonians Rugby/Edinburgh), P Harrison (Southern Knights/Edinburgh), O Frostick (Ealing Trailfinders); M Williamson (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), A Samuel (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors) - captain; A Smeaton (Cambridge University), H Morris (Southern Knights), B Muncaster (Watsonians Rugby/Edinburgh) 

Replacements: J Drummond (Ayrshire Bulls), M Jones (Boroughmuir Bears), G Breese (Stirling Wolves), E Ferrie (Glasgow Hawks), R Jackson (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), O Leatherbarrow (Exeter University), R Tait (Southern Knights), E McVicker (Melrose Rugby), C Townsend (Ayrshire Bulls), T Glendinning (Glasgow Hawks), R McKnight (Stirling County).

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