13 changes to Ireland U20 team

Date published: June 14 2016

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Ireland head coach Nigel Carolan has made 13 changes to his XV to play Georgia in their final pool game of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

In the forwards, James Bollard, Vincent O'Brien and Vakh Abdaladze start together in a new front-row. Debutant Evan Mintern from Cork Constitution is joined in the second-row by his Munster colleague Sean O'Connor.

Greg Jones is the only forward retained from the starting line-up against New Zealand and he will pack down with new cap Conall Boomer of Belfast Harlequins and Shannon number eight Kelvin Brown.

There is also a new-look back-line, with 18-year-old scrum-half Niall Saunders making his first start at this level. He will link up with Ulster's Johnny McPhillips, who came off the bench to kick eight points against the Baby Blacks.

Paul Kiernan and Jimmy O'Brien make up the centre partnership, while UCD's Hugo Keenan is set for his third start of the tournament on the left wing. The back-three is completed by Ireland Sevens international Terry Kennedy and Brett Connon, who was called up as an injury replacement for the unfortunate Bill Johnston (shoulder).

With regular captain James Ryan moving to the replacements, the much-changed team will be captained by UCC centre Kiernan, who led Munster to the IRFU U20 Interprovincial title earlier this season and skippered the Ireland U19s last year.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's match in Manchester, Carolan said: "We're in a good position with two wins from two so far in this competition but we now have a big test against what is a very physical Georgian side.

"They pushed Wales all the way at the weekend (losing 10-9), so they will be looking to build on that performance and will be confident coming into this match.

"The nature of the tournament means that games come thick and fast so it's important that we use our whole squad. There are a number of players who will be starting their first U20 World Championship match so we're looking forward to seeing them in action."

Ireland U20: 15 Brett Connon, 14 Terry Kennedy, 13 Jimmy O'Brien, 12 Paul Kiernan (c), 11 Hugo Keenan, 10 Johnny McPhillips, 9 Niall Saunders, 8 Kelvin Brown, 7 Conall Boomer, 6 Greg Jones, 5 Sean O'Connor, 4 Evan Mintern, 3 Vakh Abdaladze, 2 Vincent O'Brien, 1 James Bollard
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Adam Coyle, 19 James Ryan, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Stephen Kerins, 22 Shane Daly, 23 Jacob Stockdale

Date: Wednesday, June 15
Venue: Manchester City Academy Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 BST (16:30 GMT)
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Matthew O’Grady (England)
TMO: David Rose (England)

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