Monday 16 September 2019

Joe Schmidt to recall big hitters: Here is the likely Ireland team to face England this weekend

Conor Murray, left, and Keith Earls should face England
Conor Murray, left, and Keith Earls should face England
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Joe Schmidt is set to recall the majority of his front-liners for Saturday's clash against England as he looks to build momentum ahead of the World Cup.

As per today's Irish Independent, Ross Byrne is in line to be handed his first Test start as the Leinster out-half aims to stake his claim with doubts hovering over Joey Carbery's involvement at the tournament.

Byrne will be partnered by Conor Murray at half-back, while the outside back-line has a familiar look to it.

Rob Kearney, Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls, who missed training yesterday, are set to be reunited in the back-three.

Robbie Henshaw is understood to have been pencilled in for a run at outside centre, but having sat out training on Tuesday, the coaching staff could decide to give him the weekend off.

That may mean that his place goes to Garry Ringrose, who plays his second consecutive warm-up game, with Bundee Aki returning to the number 12 jersey.

Up front, the first-choice front-row of Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong and captain Rory Best are likely to get their first run-out of the season at Twickenham.

The locks are the same pair who started in the win over Italy a fortnight ago, with Jean Kleyn looking to further cement his claim for a seat on the plane to Japan, alongside Devin Toner.

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As per the front-row, the first-choice back-row are set to be in tandem as Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander also get their first hit-outs.

The Ireland team will officially be named tomorrow morning.

Possible Ireland team (to play England on Saturday) – R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; R Byrne, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong; J Kleyn, D Toner; P O'Mahony, J Van der Flier, CJ Stander.

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