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No changes for U-20s as Ruddock eyes England scalp

WITH everything else that is going on in the world of sport, Mike Ruddock's Ireland U-20s team hadn't been afforded too many column inches until last Monday's heroics against host nation South Africa in the World Junior Championships.

Their 23-19 success must go down as one of Ireland's best results at this level, and it follows on from a Six Nations campaign in which they recorded a first win in France.

But it doesn't get any easier for the side captained by Dolphin's Niall Scannell as they face Six Nations champions England this evening (5.45 Irish time).

The sides met in a Grand Slam face-off on St Patrick's weekend, with England outscoring the visitors by three tries to none.

Since then, Ireland have lost exciting back Shane Leyden through injury and captain Paddy Jackson, who was left at home after signing a professional contract with Ulster, but they defied those problems to get off to the best possible start.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ruddock has named the same starting XV for this evening's clash, with Shane Buckley and Stuart Olding coming onto the bench.


While last Monday's game was taxing on all the players, spare a throught for UCD and Leinster back-row Jordan Coghlan, who will re-sit the Leaving Cert maths paper at a nearby university just hours before the game kicks off.

A special exemption from the State Exams Commission means he will start his exams 30 minutes before everyone else so he can join his team-mates in time for kick-off.

England kicked off their campaign with a facile win over Italy, running in nine tries, and Ruddock insists his side aren't getting carried away with their first-round victory.

"England are the current Six Nations champions and we will have to reproduce the intensity we showed against South Africa if we are to get a result in this game," he said.

"We have done our homework and we are now looking forward to the game."

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland -- P Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster); B Daly (UCD/Leinster), F Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster), C Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), S Coghlan Murray (UCD/Leinster); JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), K Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht); D Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), N Scannell (Dolphin/Munster, capt), T Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster); T Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), I Henderson (Queen's University/Ulster); J Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), C Gilsenan (UCD/Mullingar/Leinster), J Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster). Reps: J Rael (Garryowen/Munster); P Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), J Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), A O'Connor (UCD/Leinster), S Buckley (Garryowen/Munster), L McGrath (UCD/Leinster), J Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht), S Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).

England -- T Bell; M Yarde, W Addison, R Mills (capt), C Walker; T Heathcote, B Spencer; A Hepburn, K Britton, K Sinckler; D Barrow, G Merrick; D Sisi, B Nutley, J Clifford. Reps: M Crumpton, L Cowan-Dickie, R Harrison, S Twomey, C Walker, D Robson, S Hill, B Ransom.

Ireland v England

Live TG4, Sky Sports 2, 5.45

Irish Independent