The Ireland Under-20 team to face Wales in the Six Nations opener has been named by head coach Mike Ruddock. The match will take place in Dubarry Park, Athlone on Friday.
Ruddock has largely kept faith with last year’s squad, with seven of that team in the starting line-up for Friday’s encounter.
Munster’s Niall Scannell starts at hooker, with Kyle McCall and Peter Reilly either side of him at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively.
Ulster’s Iain Henderson and Connaught’s Daniel Qualter make up the second row, with Conor Gilsenan, Aaron Conneely and Jack Conan starting in the back row.
Paddy Jackson starts at out-half and has been named captain for the Six Nations. Jackson is joined in the starting line-up by scrum-half Kieran Marmion.
Sam Coghlan-Murray returns to the side on the wing, with Leinster’s Barry Daly starting on the other wing.
JJ Hanrahan and Foster Horan are the starting centres, while Connaught’s Shane Layden starts at full back.
Ruddock said, “We are all looking forward to the start of the 6 Nations. It is always a tough test against Wales, but preparations have been first class and we are confident we have prepared as best as we can and are now looking forward to transferring that training onto the pitch itself.”
Wales and Ireland played out a 26-26 draw last season. In the four years of the U20 Six Nations, Ireland have won twice, drawn once and lost once against Wales.
15 – Shane Layden (Buccaneers – Connacht)
14 – Barry Daly (UCD – Leinster)
13 – Foster Horan (Lansdowne – Leinster)
12 – JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians – Munster)
11 – Sam Coghlan-Murray (UCD – Leinster)
10 – Patrick Jackson (Dungannon – Ulster) Captain
9 – Kieran Marmion (Corinthians – Connacht)
1 – Kyle McCall (Ballynahinch – Ulster)
2 – Niall Scannell (Dolphin – Munster)
3 – Peter Reilly (Lansdowne – Leinster)
4 – Iain Henderson (QUB – Ulster)
5 – Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers – Connacht)
6 – Conor Gilsenan (UCD – Leinster)
7 – Aaron Conneely (Corinthians – Connacht)
8 – Jack Conan (Old Belvedere – Leinster)
16 – Des Merrey (Clontarf – Leinster)
17 – James Rael (Garryowen – Munster)
18 – Jake Cawley (Leinster)
19 – Tadgh Beirne (Lansdowne – Leinster)
20 – Jordan Coghlan (UCD – Leinster)
21 – Luke McGrath (UCD – Leinster)
22 – Cathal Marsh (Dublin University – Leinster)
23 – Christopher Farrell (Dungannon – Ulster)
Ireland Under-20 RBS 6 Nations Fixtures 2012 (All Kick-off Times GMT):
Fri 3rd Feb 19:05 Ireland U20 v Wales U20 Dubarry Park
Sat 11th Feb 14:00 France U20 v Ireland U20 Grenoble
Fri 24th Feb 19:05 Ireland U20 v Italy U20 Dubarry Park
Fri 9th Mar 19:05 Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 Dubarry Park
Fri 16th Mar 20:05 England U20 v Ireland U20 Adams Park