Jack Conan set for debut against Scotland as Ian Madigan and Gordon D'Arcy get chance
Joe Schmidt looks set to hand Jack Conan his first Ireland cap against Scotland on Saturday with Ian Madigan and Gordon D'Arcy expected to be handed their World Cup chances at the Aviva Stadium.
The 23-year-old Leinster back-row lined out for the Wolfhounds in January but wasn't involved in the subsequent Six Nations as he continued his breakout year with the province.
Although normally a No 8, Schmidt may deploy Conan on the blindside, with Sean O'Brien at the base of the scrum and Chris Henry expected to play at openside when he names his team at 1.50 today.
Dan Tuohy could partner Devin Toner in the second-row as the Six Nations heroes are re-introduced to the team, while Dave Kilcoyne, Rory Best and Mike Ross may combine in the front-row with Sean Cronin set to return from his shoulder surgery off the bench.
The uncapped Nathan White may have some involvement given he wasn't released along with Kieran Marmion to join up with Connacht for their pre-season game against Castres, but Marty Moore could also feature after returning to training.
Behind the scrum, Leinster's Madigan is the favourite to play at out-half, partnering Isaac Boss, with D'Arcy getting his opportunity to stake a claim in the No12 shirt alongside Jared Payne.
In the back three, Luke Fitzgerald could make his return on the wing, with Tommy Bowe also set for his seasonal bow and Simon Zebo a possible inclusion at full-back.
Scotland, meanwhile, have extended coach Vern Cotter's contract until 2017 ahead of their first warm-up game.
"I'm really happy to be able to continue working with the players, the organisation, the board and everyone involved," the New Zealander told www.scottishrugby.org on Wednesday.