Sunday 24 February 2019

Joey Carbery in pole position to start against Italians

 

Carbery: In line to make fourth start. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Carbery: In line to make fourth start. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Captain Fantastic: Stephen Cluxton. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Joey Carbery is set to start for Ireland in their clash against Italy in Chicago on Saturday, as Joe Schmidt confirms his team this evening (6.30).

The Munster out-half is in line to make just his fourth start for Ireland as he looks to build on his impressive display in the first Test victory over Australia last summer.

Carbery is expected to get the nod ahead of Ross Byrne, who should make his international bow from the bench at Soldier Field.

Luke McGrath's experience of playing alongside Carbery during the pair's time together at Leinster could see him edge out John Cooney for the starting slot at scrum-half.

Read more: Carbery 'really happy' with Munster move as he aims to maintain fine form

"The fact that Joey's moved to Munster and he's had the opportunity to kick on and play 10 every week has allowed Ross to play at 10 when Johnny hasn't played," Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby said.

Rhys Ruddock has already been confirmed as captain and he will lead a team that will include a mixture of youth and experience.

Josh van der Flier will be eager to stake his claim at openside flanker, while Jack Conan will be looking to do the same from No 8.

In the backline, Bundee Aki will provide plenty of ballast and experience outside of Carbery, with versatile Ulster back Will Addison also pushing to make his Ireland debut.

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