Ireland Under-20 manager Noel McNamara has made two changes to his team to face France tonight in Irish Independent Park in Cork.

The hosts still harbour hopes of winning a Grand Slam after wins against England, Scotland and Italy.

McNamara was forced into a late switch today after out-half Harry Byrne was ruled out through injury. He's replaced in the starting 15 by Ben Healy. James McCarthy comes into the replacements.

Sean French starts at centre in place of David Hawkshaw who has a knee injury.  

The pack is unchanged, with props Josh Wycherley and Thomas Clarkson each side of hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin.

Charlie Ryan will captain the side from the second-row and is partnered by Niall Murray.

Flankers Martin Moloney and Scott Penny are named in the back-row along with Number 8 John Hodnett. 

French forms a centre partnership with Liam Turner, with a back three consisting of Angus Kernohan, and Jonathan Wren on the wings and Jake Flannery at full-back.

Ryan Baird is named amongst the replacements and will be hopeful of winning his first U20 cap on Friday night.

McNamara said: "We were pleased to come home from Italy with a bonus-point win, but there are still elements that we feel can be improved on, so it’s about continuing to progress as we move through the tournament.

"The French are still in the hunt for the title and they are a big side, so for us it’s about sticking to our game plan and looking to match their physicality

"The players took so much from the atmosphere in Irish Independent Park on the opening night of the Championship against England and are itching to get back out there this Friday."

McNamara admitted it is a blow to be without Hawkshaw. 

The head coach added: "It’s really unfortunate for David to miss out. He has been in great form on the pitch and has been a fantastic leader of the side over the course of the campaign and everyone wishes him well in his recovery.

"Sean French comes into the side and he has done really well for his club in the All-Ireland League over the last few weeks, so we know he has the ability to perform in front of his home crowd in Cork."

Ireland Under-20s: Jake Flannery, Angus Kernohan, Liam Turner, Sam French, Jonathan Wren, Ben Healy, Craig Casey

Josh Wycherley, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Thomas Clarkson, Charlie Ryan, Niall Murray, Martin Moloney, Scott Penny, John Hodnett.

Replacements: John McKee, Callum Reid, Ryan Lomas, Ryan Baird, David McCann, Cormac Foley, James McCarthy, Rob Russell.

Watch Ireland U20 v France U20 live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player tonight from 7pm