Sport Rugby

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ruddock rings changes for Kiwi showdown

Mike Ruddock
Mike Ruddock

John Fallon

Ireland U-20 coach Mike Ruddock has made eight changes to the side which brushed Fiji aside for tomorrow's crunch clash with New Zealand in the Junior World Championship.

Ruddock rotated his squad after the 19-15 opening-night win over Australia last Wednesday and has again made wholesale changes for the final pool match where the winners will advance to the semi-finals.

The loss of place-kicker Tom Daly, out with a broken hand, has forced changes.

"It is a demanding schedule, but we have a good squad," Ruddock said. "It was unfortunate to lose Tom, but that is part of it. We have had to do without the likes of Stuart Olding and Robbie Henshaw, who were called up to the senior squad and have now made their Test debuts, along with other key players who were injured at various stages during the season.

"But there is a resilience in this group to deal with those sort of things and I think that will show against New Zealand as well."

Four of the changes are in the backs with kicker Rory Scannell, who played at No 15 against Australia, taking Daly's position in the centre.

Adam Byrne returns to the right-wing in place of Darren Sweetnam, with Luke McGrath back at scrum-half.

Up front, the Byrne twins make way in the front-row for 18-year-old loosehead Peter Dooley, with George McGuigan also returning. Ulster lock John Donnan takes over from Sean McCarthy, while Josh van der Flier returns to a reshuffled back-row.

Ireland – D Leader (Connacht); A Byrne (Leinster), T Farrell (Leinster), R Scannell (Munster), R Scholes (Ulster); S Crosbie (Leinster), L McGrath (Leinster); P Dooley (Leinster), G McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), C Taylor (Ulster); G Thornubury (Leinster), J Donnan (Ulster); D Leavy (Leinster), J van der Flier (Leinster), C Joyce (Ulster). Reps: E Byrne (Leinster), B Byrne (Leinster), A Boland (Connacht), P Timmins (Leinster), R Murphy (Munster), D Shanahan (Leinster), M Roche (Connacht), D Sweetnam (Munster).

Irish Independent

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