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Saturday 17 November 2018

Irish out to hit English and semis

Ireland v England, Estadio El Coloso del Parque, Rosario, Argentina (6.10 Irish-time)

For England, it will be all about revenge. For Ireland, it will be all about survival as the 'auld enemies' thunder into each other on the second day of the U20 World Cup in Rosario this evening.

If Allen Clarke's players are to harbour any ambition of completing their stated mission -- to make the semi-finals -- they will have to repeat their Six Nations defeat of England.

To this end, Clarke has made three changes, bringing in Leinster duo Brandan Macken at outside centre and Noel Reid at full-back, with Andrew Conway moving to the right wing for the injured Darren Hudson. Munster's Brian Hayes moves into the second row with Ben Marshall dropping to the bench.

The selection of Reid is a solid indication that Ireland will look to play territory from inside their own half through his superior kicking game. The Irish didn't have time to grieve their 25-22 injury-time loss to France. There is still opportunity to progress. Argentina troubled England in all the right places on Saturday.



capitulation

The Baby Pumas are capable of causing an upset against France in the same way Ireland can put a stop to England's trot, following their power-packed 48-22 binning of the hosts.

This 'against-the-odds' scenario is not implausible but England coach Mark Mapletoft has been eager for another crack at Ireland since their 22-10 capitulation in the Six Nations.

"I was really impressed with Ireland through the Six Nations. They're a very well organised side, very physical, they have got some very exciting runners and some exciting players. We'll need to play our best game of the season to come through that.

"The backrow are a pretty exceptional unit -- (Rhys) Ruddock, (Patrick) Butler and (Dominic) Ryan. I thought they were exceptional during the Six Nations. (John) Cooney, the nine, looks like he controls things well and (Andrew) Conway is a really exciting runner."

Mapletoft has made 10 changes to his side, ushering in a new half-back combination with Rory Clegg and Charlie Davies and retaining just five of those who started in the Six Nations encounter in February.

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland U20: N Reid; A Conway, B Macken, N Spence, S Zebo; J McKinney, J Cooney; J O'Connell, N Annett, S Maguire, D O'Callaghan, B Hayes, R Ruddock (capt), D Ryan, P Butler.

England U20: T Homer; C Wade, A Forsyth, T Casson, S Smith; R Clegg, C Davies; L Imiolek, J George, M Vunipola, G Kruis, C Matthews, J Gibson, J Rowan (capt), A Gray.

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