Ireland's 2021 U20 Six Nations campaign kicks off at last this Saturday in Cardiff. They take on Scotland in their opening game, and head coach Richie Murphy has named his 26-man squad for the tournament curtain raiser.
The delayed tournament will take place over the space of four weeks in the Welsh capital, with every game taking place at the Cardiff Arms Park. Murphy has named a squad with plenty of experience, with five of the 26 having played at senior level in the Guinness Pro14.
The Ireland team is captained by Munster's Alex Kendellen, who made his Pro14 debut this season. He is joined in the backrow by Leinster's Alex Soroka, who made two senior appearances for the province this year. Jamie Osborne and Ben Moxham also made their senior bows this season for Leinster and Ulster respectively.
Head coach Murphy has the luxury of a 26-man squad, to make up for the taxing nature of a shortened tournament. One of his subs, Tim Corkery also made his Leinster debut this season, meaning it's a squad full of depth.
📋 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 🟢
Head Coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland Match Day squad for Saturday's #U20SixNations opener against Scotland in Cardiff 🙌
Full details: https://t.co/Uhz1sqspZm#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/INxrYitwX6
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) June 18, 2021
Speaking on his team selection, Murphy said that the squad had worked hard in the buildup to the tournament and were excited to finally get going on Saturday afternoon.
The squad and management have worked tirelessly over the last number of months in preparation for the Six Nations, and the 26 players selected for Saturday have the honour of representing the group against Scotland. We are excited about the challenge ahead and the prospect of the Ireland U20s back in action again.
The Ireland U20s XV to play Scotland on Saturday is:
15 - Jamie Osborne (Leinster)
14 - Ben Moxham (Ulster)
13 - Shane Jennings (Connacht)
12 - Cathal Forde (Connacht)
11 - Josh O'Connor (Leinster)
10 - James Humphreys (Ulster)
9 - Conor McKee (Ulster)
1 - Temi Lasisi (Leinster)
2 - Ronan Loughnane (Leinster)
3 - Sam Illo (Leinster)
4 - Mark Morrissey (Leinster)
5 - Harry Sheridan (Ulster)
6 - Alex Soroka (Leinster)
7 - Oisin McCormack (Connacht)
8 - Alex Kendellen (Munster) (capt.)
Replacements: 16. Eoin De Buitléar, 17. Jack Boyle, 18. Mark Donnelly, 19. Jack Kelleher, 20. Reuben Crothers, 21. Will Reilly, 22. Tim Corkery, 23. Chris Cosgrave, 24. Donnacha Byrne, 25. Ben Carson, 26. Daniel Okefe
Ireland have had great success at U20s level in recent years, winning a Grand Slam in 2019, and winning an unbeaten Triple Crown in 2019 before the competition was cancelled due to Covid. Starters Alex Soroka, Conor McKee, Ben Moxham and Cathal Forde were all part of last year's Triple Crown winning squad, as was Tim Corkery, who starts on the bench on Saturday.