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Ulster have five representatives in Ireland squad for U20 World opener

Ulster centre Stewart Moore, who will make his Ireland Under-20 debut against England (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)
Ulster centre Stewart Moore, who will make his Ireland Under-20 debut against England (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

All five of Ulster's representatives in the Ireland Under-20 squad have been named in the starting line-up for their opening game at the Under-20 World Championships.

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Head coach Noel McNamara has named a strong side for Ireland's first game in Pool B against England, with Ulster's healthy contingent leading the way.

That means starts for Iwan Hughes (full-back), Angus Kernohan (wing), Stewart Moore (centre), David McCann (flanker) and Azur Allison (No.8) in Santa Fe, Argentina.

All five players are currently in Ulster's Academy system, while tomorrow's game will be a debut for the trio of Hughes, Moore and Allison.

The squad announcement is the second bit of good news that Kernohan has received today, with the winger also being promoted to the Ulster senior squad for next season.

Elsewhere in the squad, McNamara has stuck with a familiar front row of Munster's Josh Wycherley, Connacht's Dylan Tierny-Martin and Leinster's Tom Clarkson.

The second row pairing sees captain Charlie Ryan partnered by Leinster team-mate Ryan Baird, while McCann and Allison are joined in the back row by Munster's John Hodnett.

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Highly-rated Munster prospect Craig Casey is at scrum-half, where he is partnered at fly-half by Shannon and provincial team-mate Jake Flannery.

In the centre, Moore is joined by Liam Turner of Leinster, while Munster's Jonathan Wren rounds out the back three alongside Kernohan and Hughes.

"We arrived into Santa Fe on Thursday and the players have settled in really well," says head coach McNamara.

"They’ve focused on their recovery after the travel and are now looking forward to taking the field and getting things underway.

"We know from the Six Nations that England are a good side, and they have a lot of tradition in this tournament, but the primary focus is ourselves and what we control on the day."

In a change to the laws for the Under-20 World Championships, all remaining squad members are allowed to be used as replacements, meaning Ireland have 13 players on the bench.

Ireland follow tomorrow's game against England with ties against Australia on Sunday and Italy the following Saturday, all in Santa Fe, as they aim to qualify for the semi-finals.

Ireland U20 v England U20, World Rugby U20 World Championship, Pool B, (Club de Rugby Atheneo Immaculada, Santa Fe, Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 3.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time)

15. Iwan Hughes (Ballynahinch/Ulster); 14. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster), 13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster), 12. Stewart Moore (Malone/Ulster), 11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster); 10. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster), 9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster); 1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), 2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht), 3. Tom Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster); 4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster) (Captain), 5. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster); 6. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster), 7. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster), 8. Azur Allison (Ballymena/Ulster).

Replacements from: Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster), Declan Adamson (Clontarf/Leinster), John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Charlie Ward (Clontarf/Leinster), Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster), Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht), Ronan Watters (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Ciaran Booth (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby), Colm Reilly (Buccaneers/Connacht), Cormac Foley (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster), Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster).

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