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Rising stars aim to hit back in style

By Cian Tracey

For several of the Ireland Under-20 players, last week's Six Nations opener in France was a baptism of fire and the youngsters know they can ill-afford to make such a slow start again.

Italy are the visitors to Donnybrook this evening (kick-off 7.15pm) as Ireland look to get their campaign back on track.

Ireland were superior in the second half but the damage had been done early on against a quality French side who took full advantage at home to win 34-24.

Noel McNamara's charges will be expected to bounce back in style.

Joe Schmidt is expected to be in the crowd and he will be keeping a close eye on the likes of skipper Tommy O'Brien, Harry Byrne and Jack O'Sullivan, all of whom impressed in Bordeaux.

McNamara said: "They ran a very experienced England side very close (17-27). So we will expect a serious test."

IRELAND UNDER-20s: M Silvester; P Sullivan, T O'Brien (capt), A Curtis, J McCarthy; H Byrne, H O'Sullivan; J Duggan, R Kelleher, J Aungier; C Daly, J Dunne; S Masterson, M Agnew, J O'Sullivan. Reps: E Clarke, J French, T O'Toole, C Ryan, R Foley, P Patterson, C Dean, A Kernohan.

ITALY UNDER-20s: A Rossi; S Cornelli, M Biondelli, D Mazza, T Coppo; A Rizzi, N Casilio; D Fishetti, M Luccardi, M Mancini Parri; N Cannone, M Canali; M Lamaro (capt), J Bianchi, L Manni. Reps: N Taddia, L Mariottini, F Romano, E Iachizzi, E Ghigo, L Bacchi, F di Marco, A Fusco.

Referee: D Jones (Wales)

IRELAND WOMEN (v Italy, Donnybrook, Sunday, 1pm): K Flood; M Williams, F Kitzhenry, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C Moloney, F Reidy; P Fitzpatrick, N Fryday; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin (capt). Reps: L Lyons, L Feely, C O'Connor, O Fitzsimons, E McMahon, N Cronin, M Claffey, C McLaughlin.

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