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Irish boys ready to take on the world

Ireland’s Under 20s, the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions at this age-level, left yesterday for Argentina and the IRB Junior World Championship.

The Allen Clarke-coached Irish party includes four players from Ulster, Niall Annett and Michael Heaney (both Belfast Harlequins), James McKinney (Queen’s University) and Nevin Spence (Ballynahinch).

Ireland open their campaign on Saturday against France, the only side to have beaten them in the 2010 Six Nations series.

Four days later they face England, whom they beat 25-10 in that tournament.

Ireland's final Pool B match is against the hosts, Argentina, on Sunday, June 13.

Ireland’s pool fixtures will be broadcast live on Setanta Sports.

Irish squad (sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers): N Annett (Ulster), D Buckley (Connacht), P Butler (Munster), B Cagney (Munster), A Conway (Leinster), J Cooney (Leinster), D Doyle (Leinster), E Griffin (Connacht), B Hayes (Munster), M Heaney (Ulster), D Hudson (Leinster), B Macken (Leinster), S Maguire (Leinster), B Marshall (Leinster), J McKinney (Ulster), D McSharry (Leinster), J Murphy (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), J O'Connell (Leinster), T O'Halloran (Connacht), B O'Hara (Munster), N Reid (Leinster), R Ruddock (Leinster, captain), D Ryan (Leinster), N Spence (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster).

IRB Junior World Championship Pool B fixtures (all at Estadio El Coloso del Parque, Rosario): Saturday, June 5: France v Ireland (2pm); Argentina v England (4pm). Wednesday, June 9: England v Ireland (2pm); Argentina v France (4pm). Sunday, June 13: England v France (2pm); Argentina v Ireland (4pm).

Meanwhile, tickets for the first match at the Aviva Stadium will be priced at a give-away €10 for members of the Irish Rugby Supporters Club.

The stadium-opening O2 Challenge will see a Leinster/Ulster selection take on their Connacht/Munster counterparts in an exhibition game featuring Academy and rising young players from the four provinces.

Saturday, July 31 is the date and the kick-off is at 2.30pm.

Following the normal distribution to volunteers and players through the clubs, tickets for the O2 Challenge will go on sale exclusively to members of the IRSC on Tuesday, June 8 at 10am. Members will be limited to four tickets each.

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