DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will give a number of fringe players the opportunity to seal a World Cup squad place on Saturday and try to make up for last weekend’s dismal record defeat to England with a trip to Wales.
Less than a year after a first ever home victory over New Zealand set World Cup expectations to fever pitch, Ireland’s 57-15 rout in Twickenham left their coach bemoaning a “malaise” about his team just four weeks before the tournament begins in Japan.
After watching a near full strength side miss 34 tackles against a far superior England, Schmidt hands the versatile Will Addison a first warm-up appearance with Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell and Kieran Marmion getting another chance inside him.
With Johnny Sexton rested again and Joey Carbery still out but winning his fitness battle for the opener against Scotland next month, Connacht’s Jack Carty starts and will seek to claim a potential spot as a third flyhalf on the plane.
Tadhg Beirne gets his first start at flanker, shifting captain for the day Peter O’Mahony to the openside with Jack Conan completing the back row. First choice lock James Ryan also gets his first run out of the pre-World Cup games.
15-Will Addison, 14-Andrew Conway, 13-Chris Farrell, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 10-Jack Carty, 9-Kieran Marmion, 8-Jack Conan, 7-Peter O’Mahony (captain), 6-Tadhg Beirne, 5-James Ryan, 4-Iain Henderson, 3-John Ryan, 2-Niall Scannell, 1-Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16-Rory Best, 17-Andrew Porter, 18-Tadhg Furlong, 19-Devin Toner, 20-Jordi Murphy, 21-Luke McGrath, 22-Garry Ringrose, 23-Dave Kearney
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)