Thursday 8 December 2016

Kearney gets Chicago nod

Published 03/11/2016 | 02:30

Rob Kearney during a squad visit to the Chicago Bulls training facility, The Advocate Center. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Rob Kearney during a squad visit to the Chicago Bulls training facility, The Advocate Center. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Joe Schmidt looks set to go for an experienced line-up to take on New Zealand in Chicago on Saturday, with Rob Kearney set to come back into the team at full-back.

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The Leinster star missed the summer tour to South Africa and Jared Payne deputised at No 15 during his absence, but the Ulster player looks set to be restored to the midfield alongside Robbie Henshaw at Soldier Field.

That means Garry Ringrose will be primed for his Test debut from the bench, where he could be one of three uncapped Leinster backs as Joey Carbery comes in as cover for Johnny Sexton, with Luke McGrath potentially winning his battle with Kieran Marmion.

Read more: Schmidt set to go with experience for Chicago clash against All Blacks as Kearney set for start

Up front, Tadhg Furlong will start alongside Jack McGrath and Rory Best, while it is a close call between Donnacha Ryan and Ultan Dillane to partner Devin Toner. Ryan's experience may edge it.

Jordi Murphy looks likely to hang on to the No 7 shirt as Schmidt retains the back-row that started against the Springboks in the first and last Tests when he names his team at 7.15pm Irish time.

Possible Ireland team - R Kearney; A Trimble, J Payne, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, T Furlong; D Toner, D Ryan; CJ Stander, J Murphy, J Heaslip. Reps: S Cronin, C Healy, F Bealham, U Dillane, J van der Flier, L McGrath, J Carbery, G Ringrose.

Irish Independent

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