Ireland U20s: In-form Gilroy back in team to face the Welsh
Ulster’s Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall have made an immediate return from Magners League duty to bolster the Ireland U20s starting line-up for tonight’s clash with Wales at Parc y Scarlets (kick-off 7.10).
Gilroy, who has been in a rich vein of form scoring seven tries in seven outings for Ulster, comes in at right wing for Ireland while Luke Marshall, who has also been impressing with Brian McLaughlin’s squad, takes his place at inside centre with winger Tiernan O’Halloran and centre JJ Hanrahan making their way to the bench.
The return of Gilroy and Marshall, who both played in the opening win over Italy when Gilroy played at full back, are the only alterations to the side that beat Scotland 15-0 at the end of last month.
It means there are five Ulstermen in tonight’s starting side with skipper Niall Annett and half backs Paddy Jackson and Blane McIlroy making up the province’s contingent.
Elsewhere, Queen’s University’s Iain Henderson remains on the bench for Ruddock’s squad.
With two games remaining, Ireland U20s will be seeking a third win in four outings after suffering a heavy defeat to France in their second game in the Six Nations Championship.
With Ireland currently sitting fourth in the table — and one place behind Wales, who have only lost to England but have yet to meet France — coach Mike Ruddock will want his return to his native soil to end on a positive note before his squad then face unbeaten pacesetters England in their final game.
“We saw a big improvement, particularly in terms of our line speed in defence and in the collision which we dominated a lot more than we did against France,” Ruddock said referring to the win over Scotland.
“That gives us some confidence going to Wales. It will be extremely tough against the Welsh side as they seem to be playing with great confidence.
“We need to ensure our defence is spot on and take our chances when they come along,” Ruddock added.
Meanwhile, Ballynahinch’s Stuart Morrow has been named on the bench for tonight’s club international between Ireland and Scotland at Netherdale (kick-off 7.30).by michael sadlier