Ruddock freshens up for French
IT is perhaps with one eye on the upcoming Junior World Championship that Ireland U-20 coach Mike Ruddock sends his side into battle against France tonight.
Ireland are out of the running for Six Nations honours this time around – the best they can hope for is a third-placed finish – despite winning against Italy last weekend.
However, Ruddock has shown how he can bring teams through for the World Championship in previous seasons and he might already be preparing for their opener in that competition, also against the French.
Ireland name a new half-back pairing of Jack Cullen (Bruff) and Conor McKeon (Lansdowne) while Alex Wootton comes into the side at the expense of David Busby.
Cian Kelleher moves to full-back to accommodate Wootton on the wing, while Sean O'Brien continues as captain in the absence of injured Dan Leavy.
"The result against Italy got us back on track and we now face a strong French outfit that are going for the Grand Slam," Ruddock said.
"We have brought in a couple of new faces and there is an opportunity for these players to show what they can deliver."
France – P Justes; K Hamdaoui, X Mignot, F Bouvier, L Blanc; B Fajardo, B Serin; O Ishchenko, R Ruffenach, T Raynaud; A Iturria, J Singer; J Thomas, Y Camara, F Cros (capt) Reps: F Ardiaca, Y Amrouni, S Courcoul, F Lambey, J Lespinasse, T Daubagna, I Roux, F Fontaine.
Ireland – C Kelleher; A Wootton, D Goggin, P Robb, A Byrne; C McKeon, J Cullen; P Dooley, M Abbott, R Burke; S O'Brien (capt), R Molony; P Timmins, R Moloney, Ja O'Donoghue Reps: S McNulty, D Coulson, O Heffernan, S Gardiner, F Taggart, N McCarthy, R Byrne, D Busby.
FRANCE U-20 V IRELAND U-20,
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