Saturday 20 January 2018

White will get further chance to impress in Munster clash

Connacht's Nathan White is doing everything to impress in his game against Munster as he tries to secure a place in the Ireland World Cup squad
Connacht's Nathan White is doing everything to impress in his game against Munster as he tries to secure a place in the Ireland World Cup squad

John Fallon

Nathan White will get another chance to bid to be the bolter in the Irish World Cup squad when he plays for Connacht against Munster on Friday evening.

Connacht coach Pat Lam has confirmed that White has been released to play for them in their third and final warm-up match before the start of the new season.

White's apparent rival for the right to back Mike Ross up at the World Cup, Marty Moore, looks set to be handed his seasonal bow for Leinster against Ulster, while Tadhg Furlong could also feature at Kingspan Stadium.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has promised to keep a close eye on proceedings in Belfast and Limerick and Kieran Marmion will also get an opportunity to put pressure on Isaac Boss for the third scrum-half slot in the squad.

White, who will be 34 next month, became the oldest Ireland debutant in the professional era when he came on against Scotland and has another chance to make his claim.

Marmion also has an opportunity to pounce following Boss' showing in the win over Scotland.

The 23-year-old, who came off the bench against Wales to win his fourth cap, impressed when introduced against Castres in France on Friday night, having been released to get game time.

Sharpness

"I thought Kieran Marmion was fantastic against Castres. All that training he has been doing with Ireland, when he came on he could see that sharpness and the level he is at, he was superb," said Lam. "It is an inter-provincial and it is an opportunity for those guys still pushing for inclusion in the World Cup squad."

Should White be selected in Ireland's squad, it raises the prospect of Schmidt selecting an entire front-row from the southern hemisphere.

He could join his fellow Kiwi Michael Bent, who qualifies through his Irish grandmother, and South African Richardt Strauss who became available, like White, after spending three years living in Ireland.

Elsewhere, England have selected Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph as their centres for Saturday's World Cup warm-up match against France in Paris.

Stuart Lancaster has made 14 changes to the team that dispatched Les Bleus 19-14 at Twickenham last weekend - only wing Jonny May survives - in a line-up that is close to his first choice starting XV.

There is no place among the 23 for Sam Burgess or Henry Slade, a decision that will intensify speculation over their potential involvement at the World Cup.

Instead, Lancaster has opted for Danny Cipriani and Billy Twelvetrees on the bench for the last outing before the final 31-man squad is announced.

Irish Independent

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