Friday 22 March 2019

'Everyone wants to play' - Ireland will make changes for Italian clash 'but not for the sake of it'

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt
David Kelly

David Kelly

IRELAND will make changes for Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash against Italy at the Aviva Stadium – they just don't know how many.

Josh van der Flier will miss out after his unfortunate knee injury – with Dan Leavy likely to step up – and some supporters are keen to see young talents like Jordan Larmour and Joey Carbery drafted into an Irish side who failed to make a clean break in their dramatic Paris win.

However, despite the Italians' dire record against the Irish – just one win in Six Nations history – assistant coach Richie Murphy has played down the chances that his side will wrap players like drop-goal hero Jonathan Sexton in cotton wool.

“Every Six Nations game is one you have to win which makes it different from November,” said Murphy this morning.

“We have such a strong squad, we do feel comfortable in every player so we'll have a look at it.

“Johnny Sexton wants to play every game, all the players who were in France want to play every game. It's not a case of us wrapping players in cotton wool.

“Jordan Larmour is very close to it, he has learned very quickly. It's not that we don't think he's ready but we'll have a closer look at it.

“Joey Carbery hasn't had a massive amount of time through injury and at Leinster he has mostly played full-back.

“We can't guarantee what time he will get this week, we can't plan on that basis because you don't know what is going to happen.

“Even the guys who started in November but made their first Six Nations debut at the weekend realised that there was a huge jump in intensity.”

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