The Ireland U20s got off to a comprehensive winning start on the opening weekend of the 2023 Six Nations, with a decisive 44-27 win over Wales in Cardiff kicking off their campaign in perfect style.
Head coach Richie Murphy has made only one change to the team for this weekend's huge game against France at Musgrave Park in Cork, with La Rochelle's exciting wing Ike Anagu dropping out of the squad entirely.
Leinster and Terenure man Henry McErlean comes in to the starting XV for Anagu, starting at full-back, meaning that James Nicholson shifts to the wing, and Hugh Gavin swaps flanks in the back three. Rory Telfer of Ulster moves up to the bench.
It is a Leinster-heavy team, with 10 of the starting 15 coming from the province, but it is almost an identical team to the one which won out in Cardiff last week, so head coach Murphy will be hoping for more of the same in Cork.
Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Murphy said:
We were pleased to open the Six Nations with a bonus point win away from home but we know there are areas of improvement for us heading into Friday night. We have put the head down in Cork this week and are hugely excited to get back to Musgrave Park and play in front of another big home crowd.
Ireland, sponsored by PwC, have won two of the last three U20s Six Nations crowns, with France runners-up on both occasions, meaning that Friday night's game could decide the fate of this year's championship.
Ireland U20s team named to face France
15. Henry McErlean (Terenure/Leinster)
14. James Nicholson (UCD/Leinster)
13. Hugh Cooney (Clontarf/Leinster)
12. John Devine (Corinthians/Connacht)
11. Hugh Gavin (Galwegians/Connacht)
10. Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Fintan Gunne (Terenure/Leinster)
1. George Hadden (Clontarf/Leinster)
2. Gus McCarthy (UCD/Leinster - Captain)
3. Paddy McCarthy (DUFC/Leinster)
4. Diarmuid Mangan (UCD/Leinster)
5. Conor O'Tighearnaigh (UCD/Leinster)
6. James McNabney (Ballymena/Ulster)
7. Ruadhan Quinn (Old Crescent/Munster)
8. Brian Gleeson (Garryowen/Munster)
The Ireland U20s Match Day Squad to face France in Cork on Friday night has been named! 🟢#FutureIsGreen | @PwCIreland pic.twitter.com/ySpZf5FJ6b
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 8, 2023
Ireland U20s replacements v France: 16. Danny Sheahan (UCC/Munster), 17. George Morris (Lansdowne/Leinster), 18. Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians/Connacht), 19. Evan O'Connell (UL Bohemians/Munster), 20. Jacob Sheahan (UCC/Munster), 21. Oscar Cawley (Naas/Leinster), 22. Harry West (Buccaneers/Connacht), 23. Rory Telfer (QUB/Ulster)
Ireland v France in the U20s Six Nations kicks off at 8pm on Friday night from Musgrave Park in Cork, live on RTÉ 2.