Tuesday 16 January 2018

Les Kiss shuffles the pack for Ireland v Canada this weekend

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Toronto

IRELAND coach Les Kiss has shuffled his pack for this weekend's meeting with Canada, handing James Downey his international debut at 32.

Having  beaten the US Eagles 15-12 points last weekend and the Australian is looking to freshen things up for Saturday’s clash at the BMO Field in Toronto.

Andrew Trimble will win his 50th cap on the wing as he replaces Simon Zebo who is with the Lions, while Felix Jones replaces Robbie Henshaw at full-back.

Up front, Dave Kilcoyne drops to the bench with Tom Court starting at loosehead along with Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross.

Devin Toner is joined by Dan Tuohy in the second row, while Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin comes into the back-row alongside Tommy O’Donnell.

Ian Madigan continues to lead the backline, edging Paddy Jackson out in a call that will provoke plenty of debate about the pecking order behind Jonny Sexton next season. He partners Isaac Boss at half-back.

The stomach bug that affected 11 squad members has cleared and Kiss had a full squad to choose from.

And he says that while preparations were not ideal, he felt he had to freshen his side up.

“As I said the preparation wasn't ideal but those things happen on tour, particularly at the end of a season,” he said.

“Managing the resources at the back end is also very important, not only to freshen things up as you can see but to keep some of the spine in place to make sure we get some form of continuity.

“Dan Tuohy would be fresh, Kevin McLaughlin didn't play last week so he's freshened his body up and he's raring to go.

“Tommy O'Donnell didn't get a lot of minutes when he came on for his debut so he's raring to go, Andrew Trimble who plays his 50th Test match is fresh and ready to go, Felix Jones didn't get many minutes last week and did a fantastic job with the minutes he had - he deserves a chance. Obviously James comes in and freshens up that 12 channel for us.

“It's nice to be able to shift a team like that but it's important to keep continuity. Guys have really put their hands up on this tour despite the fact some didn't start last week they've worked hard and James is one of them and he deserves his chance.”

With so much change, the Australian opted to stick with the same combination at half-back.

“With seven changes, once you've had a few different situations arrive in your preparation and your training time and how that continuity in the training session go as well , reflects on the balance of your team,” he said.

“Bossy and Ian did a good job at the start of the game last week and I expect them to do the same on Saturday and no doubt the other guys will get some time for sure.”

Canada name their team on Friday morning as they continue to monitor a number of players nursing injuries from their meeting with Tonga last weekend.

IRELAND  -- F Jones (Munster); F McFadden (Leinster), D Cave (Ulster), J Downey (Munster), A Trimble (Ulster); I Madigan (Leinster), I Boss (Leinster); T Court (Ulster), R Strauss (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster); D Tuohy (Ulster), D Toner (Leinster); K McLaughlin (Leinster), T O’Donnell (Munster), P O’Mahony (capt, Munster). Reps: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), D Fitzpatrick (Ulster), M McCarthy (Connacht), C Henry (Ulster), P Marshall (Ulster), P Jackson (Ulster), R Henshaw (Connacht).

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