Monday 19 August 2019

Porter, Sweetnam and Herring handed first starts and Farrell gets debut as Schmidt rings changes for Fiji

Rob Herring with Andrew Porter and Jack McGrath during Ireland training
Rob Herring with Andrew Porter and Jack McGrath during Ireland training
Ireland's James Ryan, left, and Andrew Porter
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Andrew Porter will make his first Ireland start on Saturday as Joe Schmidt rings the changes for is side's clash with Fiji.

He is one of three players to make their first start in international rugby along with Darren Sweetnam and Rob Herring, as Chris Farrell makes his debut in midfield.

The 21-year-old Leinster prop made his debut off the bench during the summer and is included on the tighthead side of the scrum alongside Jack McGrath and Rob Herring when Joe Schmidt names his team this afternoon at

A star of the Ireland U-20 side that reached the World Cup final in 2016 at loosehead, Porter switched sides last season and is still learning the ropes in the No 3 slot. He has only started once for Leinster this season.

Schmidt has made sweeping alterations to the team that beat South Africa comprehensively last weekend and Andrew Conway and Devin Toner are the only survivors from the starting XV.

Toner is joined by Ultan Dillane in the second-row, while Jack Conan is joined by Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy in the back-row with CJ Stander covering.

Ruddock skippers the side having led the summer tour to America and Japan.

Kieran Marmion and Joey Carbery are named at half-back, while Munster centre Farrell is in line for his debut alongside Stuart McCloskey who makes his first appearance since his debut against England in the 2016 Six Nations.

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Conway moves to full-back after impressing on the wing last week, while Dave Kearney and Darren Sweetman edge Adam Byrne for the spots out wide.

Schmidt has kept some experience in reserve, with Stander, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy and Robbie Henshaw on the bench.

Ireland team to face Fiji: A Conway; D Sweetnam, C Farrell, S McCloskey, D Kearney; J Carbery, K Marmion; J McGrath, R Herring, A Porter; D Toner, U Dillane; R Ruddock (capt), J Murphy, J Conan. Replacements: J Tracy, C Healy, T Furlong, K Treadwell, CJ Stander, L McGrath, I Keatley, R Henshaw.

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