Thursday 22 February 2018

Meet the eight uncapped players poised to make their Ireland bow against Canada on Saturday

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Joe Schmidt has named a completely new starting XV from the historic win over the All Blacks for this Saturday's clash with Canada with eight debutants likely to earn their first caps for Ireland.

Here is a profile of each of the newcomers and what you can expect from them this weekend:

Garry Ringrose (Leinster)


Place of Birth:Blackrock, Ireland

Height:1.85 m

Weight:91.82 kg


Fans have been calling for this moment for well over a year and on Saturday, Ringrose will don the number 13 shirt and make his first appearance for Ireland.

An elusive runner, the 21-year-old has bulked up in the off-season and has been in terrific form for Leo Cullen's men this season.

He has been dubbed 'the next Brian O'Driscoll' in some quarters but that is too much of a burden to place on this talented footballer. He could progress into a top class international centre.

Ireland's Garry Ringrose during squad training. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Billy Holland (Munster)

DOB: 03/08/1985

Place of birth: Cork, Ireland

Height: 1.93m

Weight: 110kg

Position: Lock/back-row

Billy Holland selection in the second row this weekend will be an extremely popular one in Irish rugby circles.

At 31 years of age, he is the oldest debutant but also the most deserving.

Holland is somewhat of a late bloomer but his form certainly justifies his selection. His tackle count and number of carries are always high. A true warrior and fine lineout performer.

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Munster's Billy Holland. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jack O'Donoghue (Munster)

DOB: 08/02/1994

Place of birth: Waterford, Ireland

Height: 1.88m

Weight: 97kg

Position: Back row

Just over two years since making his senior debut for Munster, O'Donoghue will pull on the number 8 shirt for Ireland on Saturday.

It's fitting that the first Irish international on home soil since the tragic death of Anthony Foley will see the scrum anchored by a Munster man.

The 22-year-old has pace and is a fine ball-carrier. He will see plenty of possession against the Canadians.

Jack O'Donoghue arrives for squad training. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

James Tracy (Leinster)

DOB: 02/04/1991

Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland

Height: 1.83m

Weight: 107kg

Position: Hooker

He has had to wait patiently for his big break at Leinster with Richardt Strauss and Sean Cronin standing between him and a starting berth.

Tracy began his career as a prop but Joe Schmidt advised him to switch to hooker to help him realise his international ambitions and here he is.

The 25-year-old will do himself proud when sprung from the bench this weekend.

James Tracy: Picked for Ireland this week Picture: Sportsfile

John Ryan (Munster)

DOB: 02/08/1988

Place of birth: cork, Ireland

Height 1.85m

Weight: 117kg

Position: Tighthead prop

John Ryan has rightfully been lauded as one of the most improved players in Irish rugby and will get his chance to shine in two days time.

The Munster scrum has been a potent weapon this season and much of that success is down to Ryan's exploits at tighthead.

Tadhg Furlong has put himself forward as Ireland's first-choice number 3 but Ryan is certainly in a position to challenge Finlay Bealham for a spot on the bench for the Six Nations.

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Munster's John Ryan Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Dan Leavy (Leinster)

DOB: 23/05/1994

Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland

Height: 1.91m

Weight: 104kg

Position: Flanker

Has played most of his rugby off the bench for Leinster this season and his displays have certainly raised eyebrows.

His cameo display in Leinster bonus-point loss to Montpelier, in very trying circumstances, suggested that the 22-year-old was ready to be blooded at international level.

His star continues to rise.

Dan Leavy attempts to get away from the Connacht defence. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Luke McGrath (Leinster)

DOB: 03/02/1993

Place of birth: Ontario, Canada

Height: 1.75m

Weight: 83kg

Position: Scrum half

The 23-year-old will hope to challenge Kieran Marmion for a place on the Irish bench in the spring.

He has already established a very good working relationship with both Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery at Leinster.

His pace and sniping ability make him a real threat around the fringes and his ability to get to each ruck quickly marks him out as a very good option as an impact sub.

Luke McGrath: 'The lads at Nos 10, 12 and 13 are all naturally good footballers. They all play their own game and we have been focusing on their strengths' Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht)

DOB: 03/11/1990

Place of birth: Ibadan, Nigeria

Height: 1.83m

Weight: 89kg

Position: Wing

Adeolokun will get some reception from the Aviva Stadium crowd if he is summoned from the bench on Saturday.

His incredible journey from the AIL to becoming an Irish international is almost complete.

He has become a cult hero in Connacht in recent seasons and has developed into one of the best finishers in the Guinness Pro12.

His aerial ability and the improvement in his defensive awareness will have caught Schmidt's eye.

This weekend could be the start of something special.

Niyi Adeolokun at Ireland training yesterday. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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