U20 Six Nations – Ireland U20 Set To Continue Domination Against Italy U20


Ireland will host Italy at 21:15 (SA Time) in round two of the 2024 U20 Six Nations after the sides experienced contrasting fortunes in their opening fixtures.

Jack Murphy’s two late penalties ensured that the back-to-back Grand Slam champions left France victorious after a pulsating 37-31 win over Les Bleuets at the packed Stade Maurice David.

Italy, meanwhile, were well beaten by England in their opener, failing to turn momentum into points as they succumbed to a 36-11 home defeat.

Ireland comprehensively bettered the Italians in this fixture a year ago but had to work harder for victory in their most recent home meeting, only defeating the Azzurrini by five tries as the game ended 35-29 in Dublin.

Brian Gleeson misses out for Ireland as he awaits the results of a scan on an ankle injury, with Munster clubmate Luke Murphy deputising in his stead at No.8.

In the front row, Stephen Smyth and Ulster’s Jacob Boyd come in for Danny Sheahan and Andre Sparrow at hooker and tighthead respectively.

Ireland centre Wilhelm de Klerk said: "I’m excited to see the home crowd down here in Cork. It’s going to be my first time playing in Musgrave Park, or Virgin Media Park, so I think that will be pretty interesting to see that level of crowd being behind us. I’m really excited for it.

"The game agianst France was probably the biggest game I have been involved in. That was my first taste of what a big crowd in France can be, hostile. Just the intensity of it. The AIL has been a massive step for us, it has helped us come up against bigger guys and find a way to deal with that."

Italy meanwhile have made only one change to the starting XV from the game against England.

Flanker Cesare Zucconi starts in place of Giacomo Milano as Piero Gritti moves to the second row.

Italy head coach Massimo Brunello said: "Our defeat against England should not be considered a humiliating defeat, the boys fought until the end, but were punished for a bad interpretation of some on-pitch moments and the resulting frustration.

"I am convinced that we will take a step forward both in terms of play and mentality, and we can’t wait to get on the pitch."


Ireland U20: 15. Ben O’Connor, 14. Finn Treacy, 13. Wilhelm de Klerk, 12. Hugh Gavin, 11. Hugo McLaughlin, 10. Jack Murphy, 9. Oliver Coffey; 1. Alex Usanov, 2. Steven Smyth, 3. Jacob Boyd, 4. Alan Spicer, 5. Evan O’Connell (c), 6. Joe Hopes, 7. Bryn Ward, 8. Luke Murphy. Replacements: 16. Danny Sheahan, 17. Ben Howard, 18. Patreece Bell, 19. Billy Corrigan, 20. Sean Edogbo, 21. Tadhg Brophy, 22. Sean Naughton, 23. Ethan Graham.

Italy U20: 15 Mirko Belloni, 14 Marco Scalabrin, 13 Federico Zanandrea, 12 Nicola Bozzo, 11 Lorenzo Elettri, 10 Martino Pucciariello, 9 Lorenzo Casilio; 1 Federico Pisani, 2 Nicholas Gasperini, 3 Marcos Gallorini, 4 Tommaso Redondi, 5 Piero Gritti, 6 Cesare Zucconi, 7 Luca Bellucci, 8 Jacopo Botturi. Replacements: 16 Valerio Siciliano, 17 Sergio Pellicciolli, 18 Davide Ascari, 19 Giacomo Milano, 20 Olmo D'Alessandro, 21 Mattia Jimenez, 22 Ferdinand Fusari, 23 Patrick de Villiers.