The Grand Slam hopes are already dashed, but the Ireland Under-20s can still take a step towards lifting the Six Nations title when they take on Wales at Parc Eirias tonight (7.45 pm).
Having lost by five points to England, Irish coach Nigel Carolin believes his side can fight back strongly: “It’s not over yet, we can still win the championship,” he said.
“We have addressed the key areas that were highlighted against England and hopefully we can take our chances when they come along. The championship is still there for the taking and we look forward to getting our campaign back on track.”
The Wales Under 20 coaching team has made four changes — one positional — to the side to face Ireland.
Ospreys full back Joe Gage gets his first start, while Blues wing Elis Wyn-Benham wins his first cap at Under 20 level.
Up front, Scarlets hooker Ryan Elias and Ospreys back row Jon Fox also earn places in the starting line-up for the first time. Fox starts at No. 8 with Harrison Keddie moving to the blindside flank.
Coach Chris Horsman is looking forward to returning to Parc Eirias, where he was based for two seasons as RGC head coach.
“I’m proud of what we achieved at RGC in a relatively short space of time both on and off the pitch, and now I can see it from the other side as part of the Under 20 set-up. We just want to produce another good performance to give the crowd something to cheer,” he said.
Looking at the group, we have made a few tweaks. Up front, Ryan Elias comes in after playing regional rugby recently and although it is no reflection on the other hookers, it will be good to add his experience to the side.
“Jon Fox showed up well when he came off the bench against France, he’s a good ball carrier and we have good strength in depth with Jordan Viggers on the bench.”
IRELAND: B Dardis, C Gaffney, G Ringrose, S Arnold,S Fitzgerald, R Byrne, N McCarthy (captain), J Loughman, Z McCall, O Heffernan, C Romaine, J Murphy, N Timoney, C Oliver, L Dow.
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