Friday 15 December 2017

Ruddock's U20s ripe to bury Azzurri

COACH Mike Ruddock would be totally perplexed if Ireland were to go to the trouble of felling Wales and France only to be subdued by Italy in Athlone.

The Italians made France work every minute of the 70 for their 19-5 victory last Saturday, and their coach Craig Green expects a big improvement in what will be their second match of the championship.

"We are looking forward to backing up our two previous displays.

"We achieved victory in our last two games because we outworked the opposition and expect the same this week," said Ruddock.

Ruddock has not been slow to rotate his squad. Lock Tadgh Beirne, flanker Jordan Coghlan, scrum-half Kieran Marmion and wing Foster Horan come into the side.

Ireland v Italy, Dubarry Park, TONIGHT 7.05 (Live on www.rte.ie)

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland: S Layden; C Finn, C Farrell, JJ Hanrahan, F Horan; P Jackson (capt), K Marmion; K McCall, N Scannell, P Reilly, T Beirne, I Henderson, J Coghlan, C Gilsenan, J Conan.

Doyle keeps faith for Italy

Ireland v Italy, Ashbourne RFC, TONIGHT 7.30

Coach Philip Doyle has kept faith with the same side that went so close (8-7) to beating France two weeks ago. It came on the back of their first match being postponed as Ireland led Wales (11-3) at the Meath venue.

"Italy are a formidable opposition, we are under no illusions about the strength of this side. We have trained well and look forward to playing in front of a home crowd," said Doyle.

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland: A Baxter; N Kavanagh, N Briggs, G Davitt, A Miller; L Cantwell, A Davis; F Coghlan (capt), G Bourke, A Egan, M-L Reilly, S Spence, L Guest, C Molloy, J Neville.

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