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Published: 14:15 | 11/6/19

McNamara makes changes for Italy tie

Ireland Under 20 head coach Noel McNamara has made a number of changes to his starting XV for the final Pool B game against Italy on Wednesday.

The Boys in Green must secure a bonus-point win against Italy to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals as the best runners-up and McNamara has tinkered with the side that lost 45-17 to Australia on Saturday.

Josh Wycherley starts in the front row alongside John McKee and Michael Milne as Thomas Aherne comes in to join Ryan Baird, who is free to play after being cleared by a disciplinary committee, in the engine room.

David McCann, Ciaran Booth and Azur Allison make up the back row for the game in Santa Fe.

Jake Flannery takes his place at full-back with Rob Russell and Angus Kernohan named on the wings and Cormac Foley starting alongside captain Liam Turner in midfield.

Ben Healy is named at out-half and is joined in the half-back line by Colm Reilly.

Shannon’s Luke Clohessy and UCD’s David Ryan have been called into the squad as cover for John Hodnett (knee) and Stewart Moore (shoulder), who have returned home due to injury.

“We are proud of the effort the players put in on Saturday against Australia given the circumstances, and the character they showed throughout the contest has to be commended. We have no doubt that they will dig deep again on Wednesday against the Italians," McNamara commented.

"Looking ahead to tomorrow, Italy have been, and are a very good side and they showed that against England on Saturday. They have been consistently competitive at this tournament over the last number of years.

"The players are excited about the opportunity to get back out to play, and the focus is entirely on delivering a performance."

Ireland U20 (XV v Italy U20): J Flannery; A Kernohan, L Turner, C Foley, R Russell; B Healy, C Reilly; J Wycherley, J McKee, M Milne, T Aherne, R Baird, D McCann, C Booth, A Allison.

Replacements: D Adamson, T Clarkson, C Ward, D Tierney-Martin, C Ryan, N Murray, L Clohessy, C Casey, J Wren, D Ryan, A O'Sullivan, M O'Reilly.

Ireland play Italy in Pool B of the World Rugby Under 20s Championship on Wednesday, 12 June live on eir sport 1 [kick-off 2.30pm]. Subscribe here

Image: Inpho Photography/Pablo Gasparini

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