Monday 26 August 2019

Joe Schmidt reveals he'll announce decision on his future next week as he makes 14 changes for the USA

Dave Kilcoyne, Stuart McCloskey and Tadhg Beirne
Dave Kilcoyne, Stuart McCloskey and Tadhg Beirne
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Garry Ringrose is the sole survivor of the Ireland team to beat the All Blacks in the starting XV for Saturday’s final November international against the United States at a sold out Aviva Stadium.

Joe Schmidt’s selection means he’ll have used 41 of the 42 players named in the squad at the start of the month over the course of the four-game window, with injured centre Robbie Henshaw missing out.

Schmidt also confirmed that a decision on his future would be announced early next week: "I've beaten myself up about this decision - I'll be as pleased as anyone when it's made.

“It’s a decision that has been a long-time coming. The family I have probably committed most to is this family I live with in Carton House as much as the family I have at home. We’ve put our heads together to try to reconcile how we can best cater for both.”

He is contracted until the end of the Rugby World Cup next year but is being touted as a possible replacement for All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, who will make a decision on his own future before Christmas.

Munster’s Sam Arnold is in line for his debut off the bench, while Joey Carbery is named at out-half where he’ll be partnered by John Cooney.

Iain Henderson comes into the second-row having come off the bench last weekend, as was Jordi Murphy who starts at openside.

Tadhg Beirne, Andrew Conway and Niall Scannell return from the team that faced Italy in Chicago, while Rhys Ruddock leads the team again.

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There is experience on the bench in the form of Cian Healy, while Josh van der Flier is another who is asked to go again after the win over New Zealand.

Ulster's Will Addison gets his second start having been pitched in at the 11th hour for the win over Argentina, with Andew Conway and Darren Sweetnam on the wings.

Ringrose is partnered by Stuart McCloskey who returns to the team for the first time in a year.

Schmidt confirmed he had always planned to make wholesale changes for the USA clash, then hailed lock Beirne's swift progress in the Ireland set-up.

"This was always part of the plan to make the changes, the two games book-ended the series and it's a chance to look at all of the 43 players across the four matches," said Ireland boss Schmidt.

"Tadhg (Beirne) has slotted in so well, coming off the bench a couple of times in Australia in the summer, and bedding in as part of the broader squad.

"And I thought Iain Henderson came on and did really well last week against New Zealand.

"Tadhg has a really instinctive feel for the game; his running lines, his ability to get into the right defensive positions. Those things are a little bit intuitive, and it's great to coach a guy who tends to know where to be most of the time."

Ireland team to face the United States: (15-9) Will Addison; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Stuart McCloskey, Darren Sweetnam; Joey Carbery, John Cooney; (1-8) Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Finlay Bealham; Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

Reps: (16-23) Rob Herring, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Ross Byrne, Sam Arnold

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