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U20 Six Nations: Ireland's starlets target a strong finish to campaign

By Michael Sadlier

Ireland U20s will be hoping to end their Six Nations campaign on a high note by registering a third straight win from their five outings as they meet Scotland tomorrow night at Donnybrook (kick-off 7.35pm).

Indeed, coach Nigel Carolan's squad will also be seeking a much improved performance than the one produced at the same venue last week when they surprisingly struggled to put Italy away 19-13 in what has certainly been an inconsistent championship.

Neither Ireland or Scotland are in with a shout of claiming the title - they sit in fourth and third respectively and both on four points - but tomorrow night's game will still be about ending on an upslope with Carolan's players looking to put together their first three-in-a-row sequence of wins in the championship since 2012.

Out-half Johnny McPhillips, hooker Adam McBurney and winger Jacob Stockdale make up the side's Ulster-based representation and the trio will be looking to put in impressive performances in the closing game.

Carolan has made three changes from the team which just about put Italy away last Friday.

Two of these alterations are up front where prop James Bolland and second row Sean O'Connor are handed their first starts with the latter packing down alongside impressive skipper James Ryan.

Behind the pack, Stephen Kerins returns as scrum-half after being ruled out of last week's game which saw Niall Saunders - son of former Ireland international Rob - being drafted in though the London-based player is not involved this time.

Carolan said: "Unforced errors and an unusually high penalty count meant that we made hard work of the win against a gritty Italy side.

"However, we came away with the result and that's the important thing.

"Scotland are a strong side with a lot of quality players in their team.

"It will be a tough game but I'm confident that we can put in a big performance and finish on a winning note."

Ireland U20s: B Connon, H Keenan, S Daly, C O'Brien, J Stockdale, J McPhillips, S Kerins; J Bolland, A McBurney, C O'Donnell, S O'Connor, J Ryan (capt), C Gallagher, W Connors, G Jones.

Replacements: H Kean, A Porter, A Coyle, P Claffey, M Deegan, J Poland, P Kiernan, M Byrne.

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