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Under-20s Six Nations: Jacob's stock on the rise as Ireland debut looms

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster's Jacob Stockdale makes his first appearance for Ireland under-20s in this Six Nations campaign tomorrow when they host bottom of the table Italy at Donnybrook (kick-off 7.35pm).

Stockdale, who was retained by injury-hit Ulster for the earlier rounds of the Six Nations, will be bringing some useful experience to Nigel Carolan's side as the strong running winger will be making his seventh appearance for the under-20s and enters the fray as they bid to back up their surprise win over England last time out.

Indeed, Ireland's first win of the campaign attracted plenty of attention when they remarkably managed to fight back from being 20-6 down just after half-time to snatch a 26-20 win and stun the home crowd at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The shock result also halted a five-game losing run in the tournament and should boost confidence ahead of hosting the Italians, who have lost their last 10 outings in the Six Nations.

Three Ulster-based players are in the line up as, along with Belfast Harlequins clubman Stockdale, Queen's University's Johnny McPhillips is again at out-half while Ballymena's Adam McBurney is also retained at hooker.

"While it was satisfying to get the victory away to England, the important thing now is that we park that win and continue to build and develop," said Carolan.

"If we replicate our last performance, I'm confident we can come away with a successful outcome."

Ireland Under-20s: B Connon, H Keenan, S Daly, C O'Brien, J Stockdale, J McPhillips, S Kerins; A Porter, A McBurney, C O'Donnell, P Claffey, J Ryan (capt), C Gallagher, W Connors, G Jones.

Replacements: H Kean, J Bollard, B Betts, S O'Connor, M Deegan, J Poland, P Kiernan, T Kennedy.

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