Ireland U20s ring in the changes ahead of Six Nations clash with Italy

Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale starts for Nigel Carolan's side

Ireland U20s ring in the changes ahead of Six Nations clash with Italy

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

Brett Connon and Jacob Stockdale are set to their make first appearances of the U20s Six Nations campaign this Friday against Italy.

Head Coach Nigel Carolan includes Stockdale in a rake of changes from the side which defeated England in Newcastle.

Injuries have forced a reshuffled behind the scrum, with Jack Power and Jimmy O’Brien both missing due to hamstring and stress fracture injuries respectively.

Stockdale completed a full 80 minutes in Ulster's 32-0 victory over Zebre last week and has made six appearances for the Irish province.

The side will again be led by Leinster and Lansdowne lock, James Ryan - who has scored three tries in as many games.

“We knew that this group of players were very capable of playing winning rugby, but errors had cost us in previous games,” Carolan said ahead of the game.

“While it was satisfying to get the victory away to England over in Newcastle, the important thing now is that we park that win and continue to build and develop as a team.

“There are a couple of enforced changes to the backs and some new faces amongst the substitutes so it changes things up a bit as we come to the latter stages of the competition.”

There team also sees a number of uncapped players make the bench with Hugo Kean, Ben Betts and Paul Kiernan all hoping to make an appearance at Donnybrook.

Ireland XV to face Italy

15. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
14. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
13. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
12. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queens University / Ulster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Conán O’Donnell (Sligo / Connacht)
4. Peter Claffey (Galwegians / Connacht)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Captain
6. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
7. Will Connors (UCD / Leinster)
8. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)

Replacements

16. Hugo Kean (St. Mary’s / Leinster)*
17. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
18. Ben Betts (Munster / Young Munster)*
19. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
20. Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster)
21. John Poland (Cork Con / Munster)
22. Paul Kiernan (UCC / Munster)*
23. Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s / Leinster)