Tuesday 23 July 2019

Clarke demands further improvements

After missing a large part of last season, Munster's James Cronin will start for Emerging Ireland
After missing a large part of last season, Munster's James Cronin will start for Emerging Ireland
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The rampant flooding in Georgia which has killed at least 15 people has cast a shadow over the Tbilisi Cup but the tournament will continue today (2.0 Irish time) when Emerging Ireland look to build on their opening win over Italy.

In a bid to ensure that every player gets a chance to impress, head coach Allen Clarke has made 10 changes for the meeting with Uruguay.

Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland and captain Rhys Ruddock are the five players retained in the starting XV to take on a Uruguay side who will compete in Pool A of the World Cup alongside England, Australia, Wales and Fiji.

Despite opening with a 25-0 victory, Clarke is seeking further improvements from his side.

"Although there were some positives from opening fixture there were also a number of areas that we know we will need to improve to keep progressing in the tournament," he said.

Munster prop James Cronin gets a start at loosehead prop and having missed a large part of last season, he will be eager to make an impression on Joe Schmidt ahead of the World Cup.

There is a fresh half-back partnership with John Cooney and Rory Scannell linking up.

Ruddock, another looking to stake his claim, knows the importance of today's game.

"Everyone wants to put their hands up for selection but we must improve from the first game if we're going to catch the eye."

Emerging Ireland - P Nelson; C Kelleher, E Griffin, N Reid, M Healy; R Scannell, J Cooney; J Cronin, D Heffernan, S Archer; A Browne, B Holland; R Ruddock (c), F Taggart, E Masterson. Reps: R Herring, D Buckley, A Warwick, B Marshall, D Leavy, J Conan, L McGrath, JJ Hanrahan.

Irish Independent

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