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Ulster duo Curtis and Agnew get Ireland's call for clash with Italy


By Michael Sadlier

After losing 34-24 in their Six Nations opener in France last weekend, Ireland Under 20s intend to get a first win under their belts when they host Italy tomorrow at Donnybrook (7.15pm).

Coach Noel McNamara has made four changes to his starting line-up with three of those calls involving Ulster players who were involved in Bordeaux.

Scrum-half Jonny Stewart ­­­- who scored a try last weekend - has been released back to assist Ulster's cause for tomorrow evening's PRO14 clash with the Southern Kings, as has Mattie Dalton who is normally a lock but featured in the Irish back-row against France.

Flanker Aaron Hall is also out for Ireland but this is due to an injury which saw him replaced at half-time in Stade Cheban-Delmas.

There are two Ulster-based players on the U20s side, though, with a couple more on McNamara's bench.

Ballymena's Mattie Agnew is at openside flanker and will win his first Irish cap in Dublin tomorrow evening while Angus Curtis, who plays his club rugby with Queen's University and was an unused sub in Bordeaux, will make his second appearance at this level.

Curtis, the son of former full Ireland international David, will line-up alongside skipper Tommy O'Brien.

Prop Tom O'Toole and Angus Kernohan, who both made their debuts off the bench last weekend, are poised to enter the fray again after being retained as subs.

"Our players showed a lot of character in the second half against France," explained McNamara.

"We'll be looking for them to build on that coming into this game."

Ireland U20: 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.

Replacements: E Clarke, J French, T O'Toole, C Ryan, R Foley, P Patterson, C Dean, A Kernohan.

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