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The 32 man squad features 11 players who were capped across last season’s Under 20 Six Nations tournament and World Rugby Under 20 Championship.

In the forwards, prop Jordan Duggan, hookers Ronan Kelleher and Diarmuid Barron, along with back rower Sean Masterson, all featured last season, as did seven of the backs selected scrum half Jonny Stewart, out half Conor Dean, centres Angus Curtis, David McCarthy and Tommy O’Brien along with back three players Mark Keane and Michael Silvester. UCD and Leinster ‘A’ regular Tommy O’Brien will captain the side.

Commenting on the squad selection, new Ireland Under 20 head coach Noel McNamara said: “It’s an exciting time for the players and the coaching team. There have been some tight calls across the board and it’s great to see that competition for places.

“Also, with 11 players who were involved last season, there is some good experience across the squad. The players have all been working hard over the past number of months and we’re confident in the ability of the squad that we have selected.”

Looking forward to the Six Nations campaign which begins for Ireland away to France in Brive on Friday,
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February 2, Feargal O’Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC, said: “As longstanding sponsors of Irish Rugby, we have built an established and mutually beneficial relationship with the IRFU.

“With that in mind, we are excited to kick off this year’s Under 20 Six Nations Championship as we head into our thirteenth year as sponsors of the Ireland Under 20 squad. We are enormously proud to be associated with such a talented and hardworking team and we look forward to supporting them and their coaching staff through the 2018 campaign.

“At PwC we take pride in our relentless focus on developing talent and being the ‘best that we can be’ to ensure the greatest results for our people, our clients and our business partners. We know that Irish Rugby shares the same approach.

“The acceleration of talent from this grade to the full senior squad has become more pronounced in recent seasons and we look forward to many of the 2018 team making the same jump in the future. We wish the team the very best of luck. FutureisGreen.”

After the opening clash with France at Stade Am Domenech, the Ireland U 20s will play three successive home games against Italy, Wales and Scotland on Friday nights at Donnybrook, with the series of home fixtures again being sponsored by Electric Ireland.

Their Championship run will conclude with a trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to face England on Friday, March 16,
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in a double header with the Ireland and England Women’s teams.