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Neil Francis picks his Ireland World Cup starting XV and replacements

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Luke Fitzgerald is tackled by Stuart Hogg, Scotland

Luke Fitzgerald is tackled by Stuart Hogg, Scotland

SPORTSFILE

Luke Fitzgerald is tackled by Stuart Hogg, Scotland

As the Guinness PRO12 hits the penultimate weekend of the season, attentions are already turning to the World Cup. Neil Francis outlines his match-day 23 squad.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt announces his 31-man squad on September 6 after the World Cup warm-up games have been concluded.

Many of the name on the squad are safe as houses barring injury. The likes Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony, Jonathan Sexton, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney can be almost certain of starting positions, while there are a number of probable within the panel.

The composition of numbers 16-31 is likely to cause most debate with Schmidt presiding over a settled team and here is Francis' preferred match-day selection.

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