Cillian Gallagher to miss clash with France

The Ireland U20s have been dealt a fresh injury blow, as stand-in captain Cillian Gallagher is set to miss out on Friday’s crunch Six Nations encounter with France at Donnybrook.

Original skipper Jack Kelly is still out of action because of a shoulder injury he picked up in the opening-day victory over Italy, and Irish scrum coach Conor Twomey yesterday revealed a similar issue has also sidelined Gallagher.

“I think it’s an AC [that Jack Kelly has], so I think he’s not too far off. He won’t get France, I’m not too sure if he’ll be back for Wales. I think the prognosis is good on that AC joint. Cillian is out with a shoulder injury as well,” Twomey remarked.

“I’d say it’s a bit of a stigma being captain at this stage! He had an impingement of his shoulder. I think it’s another three, four to six weeks [recovery period]. Depends when they can actually come back, and take the contact.”

There is some good news on the injury front for Ireland, as Munster Academy star Bill Johnston has significantly stepped up his fitness levels in recent weeks.

Having missed out completely on last year’s Six Nations Championship, the Clonmel man has featured prominently for Garryowen in the Ulster Bank League since the turn of the year.

His last appearance for the U20s was in the historic World Rugby Championship win against New Zealand last June, and although there is substantial depth in the out-half position at the moment, Cork native Twomey acknowledges that Johnston has a lot to offer to the squad.

“With this group, the depth at 10 is huge. I think there’s five to six 10s all capable of stepping up.”

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