Ireland begin their 2011 IRB Junior World Championship campaign against England on Friday evening. The Championship is in its fourth year, with New Zealand aiming for their fourth consecutive title.
Ireland enjoyed a mixed U20 6 Nations campaign as they finished joint third. The Irish started the tournament well, beating Italy comfortably, but expectations then took a hit as France beat Ireland by 25 points.The Irish responded well with a 15-0 victory over Scotland and a 26-26 draw with Wales. The heavy 46-15 defeat to England in the final match, however, ensured Ireland finished the 6 Nations on a negative note.
England, conversely, enter the contest as clear favourites after winning all five of their U20 6 Nations matches en route to a Grand Slam. England routed Italy, Ireland and Scotland, while they beat Wales and France by six and 11 points respectively. The English will be hoping to improve on last year’s fourth place finish in the Junior World Championship.
Ireland have been able to call-up some players who missed the last encounter against England, including Andrew Conway, Dominic Gallagher and Kieran Marmion. Jamie Elliott and Kieran Low are absent from the England squad.
Pool C rivals South Africa and Scotland will also face off on Friday.
Ireland Squad: Finlay Bealham (Belfast Harlequins), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf), James Tracy (UCD), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins), David Doyle (UCD), Shane Buckley (Garryowen), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University Belfast), Michael Kearney (Clontarf), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers), Aaron Conneely (Galway Corinthians RFC), Dominic Gallagher (Dublin University), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne), Eoin McKeon (Galwegians), Peter Du Toit (UCD), Kieran Marmoin (UWIC), JJ Hanrahan (University Limerick Bohemians), Paddy Jackson (Dungannon), James McKinney (Queen’s University Belfast), Alex Kelly (UCD), Brendan Macken (Blackrock), Luke Marshall (Ballymena), Andrew Boyle (UCD), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon), Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians), Andrew Conway (Blackrock College)
England Squad: Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers), Koree Britton (Gloucester Rugby), Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Will Collier (Harlequins), Matt Everard (Leicester Tigers), Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Sam Twomey (Harlequins), Mike Haywood (Northampton Saints), Mako Vunipola (Bristol), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Chris Cook (Bath), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Ryan Mills (Gloucester), Ben Ransom (Saracens), Dan Robson (Gloucester), Andy Short (Worcester Warriors), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Guy Armitage (London Irish), Marland Yarde (London Irish)