Four changes as U20 boss Nigel Carolan bids to revive flagging Irish fortunes

Ireland coach Nigel Carolan has made four changes to his U20 side for tomorrow night’s clash with England in Newcastle (Sky Sports 3, 6pm).

Carolan admitted he was disappointed with the 34-13 loss in France and said he expected to face an England side brimming with confidence tomorrow.

“We started the French game well, but we let things slip away from us before half-time and never managed to recover. The English side made up for their opening loss to Scotland with a convincing win against Italy, so we are prepared for them to be coming into this game full of confidence.”

In the back line, there is a notable change at half-back, where Sligo and Connacht scrum-half Stephen Kerins makes his first Six Nations start. Additionally, Jack Power has also recovered from injury and returns at full-back, with Hugo Keenan shifting back to the wing as a result and Matthew Byrne moving to the replacements.

Up front, Sligo’s Conán O’Donnell returns to the starting line up in place of Conor Kenny who misses the game through injury. His place in the side is taken by Young Munster’s Ben Betts, who will win his U20 debut should he be called upon from the bench.

In the back-row, Greg Jones is set to win his first Ireland U20 cap on Friday as he replaces the injured Max Deegan at number 8, while Will Connors has also successfully recovered from injury and returns to the starting line-up at flanker.

Ireland U20 side v England (Kingston Park, tomorrow, 6.05pm):

J Power (Leinster), H Keenan (Leinster), S Daly (Munster), J O’Brien ( Leinster), C O’Brien (Leinster); J McPhillips (Ulster), S Kerins (Connacht); A Porter (Leinster), A McBurney (Ulster), C O’Donnell (Connacht); P Claffey (Connacht), J Ryan (Leinster) Captain; C Gallagher (Connacht), W Connors (Leinster), G Jones (Leinster).

Replacements:

S Fenton (Munster), J Bollard (Leinster), B Betts (Munster), S O’Connor (Munster), K Brown (Munster), J Poland (Munster), B Connon (Newcastle Falcons), M Byrne (Leinster).

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