Ireland make one change for Under-20s Championship final against France

James McNabney comes back into the back row and Diarmuid Mangan switches to the second row

Richie Murphy has named his Ireland team to play France in Friday’s World Rugby Under-20s Championship final at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town (Kick-off 7pm local time/6pm Irish time, live on Virgin Media Two).

Murphy has made one change to his starting XV from last weekend’s semi-final win over South Africa, as James McNabney comes back into the back row and Diarmuid Mangan switches to the second row.

Henry McErlean, Andrew Osborne and James Nicholson continue in the back three, with John Devine and Hugh Gavin named in the Ireland midfield. Fintan Gunne and Sam Prendergast are the half-backs.

In the pack, Paddy McCarthy, captain Gus McCarthy and Ronan Foxe are in the front row, with Mangan joining Conor O’Tighearnaigh in the engine room. The returning McNabney is named in the back row alongside Ruadhan Quinn and Brian Gleeson.


Murphy has strong options on the bench, with Max Clein, George Hadden, Fiachna Barrett, Charlie Irvine and Evan O’Connell providing the reinforcements in the pack, while Oscar Cawley, Matty Lynch and Sam Berman complete the 23 for Friday’s decider.

Commenting ahead of the game Murphy said: “The entire group are fully focused on producing our best performance of the season on Friday night because we know we’ll need it against a very strong France team. We have made good progress throughout the tournament but we will need to fine-tune all areas of our game for the final.

“The players and staff are excited about the challenge ahead and we look forward to representing Ireland in the World Rugby U20 Championship final. The level of support we have received from back home throughout has been incredible and a major boost for everyone, and we will do everything to finish the season on the ultimate high.”

Ireland team (to play France): Henry McErlean (Leinster); Andrew Osborne (Leinster), Hugh Gavin (Connacht), John Devine (Corinthians/Connacht), James Nicholson (Leinster); Sam Prendergast (Leinster), Fintan Gunne (Leinster); Paddy McCarthy (Leinster), Gus McCarthy (Leinster, capt), Ronan Foxe (Leinster), Diarmuid Mangan (Leinster), Conor O’Tighearnaigh (Leinster), James McNabney (Ulster), Ruadhan Quinn (Munster), Brian Gleeson (Munster). Replacements: Max Clein (Munster), George Hadden (Leinster), Fiachna Barrett (Connacht), Charlie Irvine (Ulster), Evan O’Connell (Munster), Oscar Cawley (Leinster), Matthew Lynch (Leinster), Sam Berman (Leinster).