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Elwood hopeful Wolfhounds bite back

IRELAND Wolfhounds have a picked a side containing five senior internationals for the clash with the England Saxons at Ravenhill tomorrow night.

After their second-half capitulation to Scotland 'A' last Friday, coach Eric Elwood is determined to bite back against England's second string with a side that shows a raft of changes to the one that lost 32-13 at Netherdale.

The two alterations to the backline see international Isaac Boss start at scrum-half following Tomas O'Leary's call-up to the senior side, while Leinster's David Kearney fills the No 15 jersey in place of Gavin Duffy, who is travelling to Rome as cover.

Up front, Ulster's Declan Fitzpatrick starts at tight-head in place of the injured Tony Buckley, while there is an international second-row pairing with Munster's Mick O'Driscoll and Donnacha Ryan coming in for Devin Toner and Ian Nagle.

Connacht's Mike McCarthy gets his chance at blindside, replacing Kevin McLaughlin, with Chris Henry captaining the side from No 8. And the fifth international in the team is hooker Damien Varley.

"This week sees another step up in terms of opposition and while some of the guys have moved onto the senior team, we have some quality experience coming back into the team," said Elwood.

The Saxons have made three changes to the team that had an easy victory over Italy last weekend, with prop Paul Doran-Jones, scrum-half Joe Simpson and full-back Nick Abendanon coming into the side.

Meanwhile, there is no Munster player in the Ireland U-20 match-day 22 that will take on Italy U-20s in Parma tomorrow. Coach Mike Ruddock has selected a side with seven Leinster players, five from Ulster and three from Connacht.

Leinster winger Andrew Conway and back-row Jordi Murphy are in the side captained by Ulster hooker Niall Annett but the absence of any Munster representative will raise concerns in the province regarding the performance of their Academy.

Irish Independent