Two uncapped players in line for debut as Ireland name experimental team for first World Cup warm-up game
Jean Kleyn will make his Ireland debut in the first World Cup warm-up game against Italy, it has been revealed.
The South African has been given a shot at nailing down his place in the World Cup in the same week the Munster lock becomes Ireland eligible, with Munster back three player Mike Haley also set for his bow off the bench.
There will also be interest in the selection of Chris Farrell at inside centre, normally viewed as a thirteen, in what is a first-time partnership with Garry Ringrose in the game at the Aviva Stadium.
Leinster’s Luke McGrath has edged out John Cooney and Kieran Marmion for the moment in what is a competitive contest as back-up to Conor Murray.
Ulster’s Rob Herring is another who can take a huge step forward with an eye-catching start at hooker ahead of Niall Scannell in reserve.
Tadhg Beirne has been included as the back-row replacement, indicating the coaches willingness to look at the versatile forward as a candidate to secure that place covering the back five at the World Cup.
Rhys Ruddock captains the side at blindside flanker, while Joey Carbery has been given the nod at number ten, as Johnny Sexton works his way back to full fitness following a thumb injury.
Elsewhere, new Ulster prop Jack McGrath is named at loosehead prop, while Andrew Porter gets the first chance to press his claim as Tadhg Furlong's back-up, with his positional rival John Ryan named on the bench.
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Veteran Devin Toner partners Kleyn at second row, while Tommy O'Donnell and Jordi Murphy are alongside Ruddock in the back row.
Leinster's Dave Kearney is given a crack on the left wing, with Munster speedster Andrew Conway on the right. Jordan Larmour is at fullback.
Ireland vs Italy kicks off at 14.00 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
15. Jordan Larmour
14. Andrew Conway
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Chris Farrell
11. Dave Kearney
10. Joey Carbery
9. Luke McGrath
1. Jack McGrath
2. Rob Herring
3. Andrew Porter
4. Devin Toner
5. Jean Kleyn
6. Rhys Ruddock (C)
7. Tommy O'Donnell
8. Jordi Murphy
16. Niall Scannell
17. Cian Healy
18. John Ryan
19. Iain Henderson
20. Tadhg Beirne
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Jack Carty
23. Mike Haley