Wednesday 19 June 2019

Confirmed: Joe Schmidt shuffles his pack for Italian job with Jordan Larmour named on the bench

The Leinster quartet of Jack Conan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Jack McGrath come into the pack
The Leinster quartet of Jack Conan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Jack McGrath come into the pack Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Leinster quartet of Jack Conan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Jack McGrath have been drafted into Joe Schmidt's Ireland pack for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Italy at the Aviva (kick-off 2.15pm).

Leavy comes in for the unfortunate Josh van der Flier while Cian Healy and CJ Stander revert to the bench to recoup from last weekend's dramatic win in Paris.

James Ryan drops out of the matchday 23 after picking up a slight knock in his impressive display at the Stade de France. Toner is selected in the second row alongside Iain Henderson with Connacht lock Quinn Roux among the replacements.

The Irish backline is unchanged.

Exciting youngster Jordan Larmour is expected to make his international debut after being named on the bench. Fergus McFadden drops out of the squad.

Queried on his selection, the Kiwi said: "Some of it is mileage, I think CJ Stander had 42 clean-outs and 23 carries in the game in Paris which, while not attritional for CJ because he's in great shape... it's really rewarding some performances from Jack Conan in recent times as well and an opportunity to keep a freshness.

"These Six Nations games... they do become, if nothing else, mentally attritional. When he got back from Paris on Sunday evening, you had some sore bodies and it's just an opportunity to freshen the side up a little bit."

Asked about his reflections on the last-gasp victory over France, he added: "You're just delighted that you got out of there with the points. It wouldn't be too many years ago that any win in Paris was acceptable.

"We felt we stayed in control of that match for a long time and to let Teddy Thomas, despite knowing how lethal a finisher he can be, slip up the touchline and slip a way through us was incredibly frustrating and disappointing.

"I think in a Test match of that magnitude it only takes one lapse for a team to get back in the game or get in front in a game. We want to make sure those lapses are not repeated.

"There are things we need to be better at. Some of our platforms didn't provide what we were looking for. You look at the first one 43 seconds in, we get a dream platform and we're away and playing.

"You don't just want control, you want to be able to dominate and dominating means building scoreboard pressure and there are a few things we can look back at and say there were opportunities we didn't nail."

More to follow

Ireland team v Italy: (15-9) R Kearney; K Earls, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; (1-8) J McGrath, R Best (capt), T Furlong; I Henderson, D Toner; P O'Mahony, D Leavy, J Conan.

Replacements: (16-23) S Cronin, C Healy, A Porter, Q Roux, CJ Stander, K Marmion, J Carbery, J Larmour.

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