Ulster aces set to backbone the U20 side in clash with classy Scots
Ireland Under 20s have seven Ulster-based players in the starting side for tomorrow's Six Nations clash with Scotland at Donnybrook in Dublin (7.15pm).
Malone back-row player Joe Dunleavy, a native of Co Donegal, gets to win his first cap at this level and joins fellow club-mate Matthew Dalton, who comes back in at lock in a side with, coincidentally, seven changes in personnel from the one which lost 41-38 to Wales.
The other Ulster-based players in the starting team are centre Angus Curtis, flanker Matthew Agnew, wingers Mark Keane and Angus Kernohan as well as prop Tom O'Toole - the latter trio making their first starts after bench appearances.
With scrum-half Jonny Stewart and centre James Hume benched, the total number of Ulster players in the match day squad is nine.
With only one win in three games, and title hopes looking effectively gone, coach Noel McNamara has opted to ring the changes and has also moved skipper Tommy O'Brien back from the wing to centre with Hume dropping to the bench after his debut against the Welsh.
The replacement hooker is expected to be named today ahead of the squad's final home game of the championship which looks to be a three-way fight between leaders France, England - the two play each other tomorrow - or potentially Wales.
"Everyone was disappointed with the result against Wales, so it's an opportunity to finish our time in Donnybrook on a positive note," said McNamara about taking on the Scots who sit in fifth, one place below Ireland, and are two points behind their hosts.
Scotland, though, come to Dublin having emulated the senior team by downing England last time out.
Ireland U20s: M Silvester, A Kernohan, T O'Brien (capt), A Curtis, M Keane, H Byrne, H O'Sullivan; J French, R Kelleher, T O'Toole, M Dalton, J Dunne, J Dunleavy, M Agnew, J O'Sullivan.
Subs: AN Other, J Duggan, J Aungier, C Ryan, R Foley, J Stewart, C Dean, J Hume