Ruddock to captain youthful Ireland side against US Eagles
June 8, 2017 9:19 pm Site Editor
Rhys Ruddock will captain a youthful Ireland team from the blindside flank, the side selected by head coach Joe Schmidt having an average age of 25 and including two 21-year-olds in debutant Jacob Stockdale and Joey Carbery.
Garry Ringrose and Luke Marshall, the same centre pairing from last November’s home win over Canada, will man the Irish midfield this weekend, while Carbery will make his first start in the number 10 jersey alongside Connacht’s Kieran Marmion.
Cian Healy, who is the most experienced member of the squad with 67 caps, will combine with Munster duo Niall Scannell and John Ryan in the front row, with Corkman Ryan making his first start at tighthead after appearing as a replacement in Ireland’s last five games.
Ulster back Stockdale, who finished the recent Guinness PRO12 season with nine tries, gets a chance to impress on the left wing, making his international debut in a back-three that also contains the experienced Keith Earls and Tiernan O’Halloran, who is set for his third start at full-back.
Quinn Roux will win his second cap alongside Devin Toner in the second row, while Jack Conan, who comes in for his first Test appearance in almost two years, forms an all-Leinster back row with Ruddock and Josh van der Flier.
It will be Ruddock’s first international outing in almost a year, and a night to remember for the 26-year-old and his family as he becomes Ireland’s 105th captain at senior level.
Andrew Porter and James Ryan, two players that have been promoted from the Leinster Academy to the senior squad ahead of next season, are standing by to make their debuts as replacements, just a year on from helping the Ireland Under-20s to a runners-up finish at the World Rugby U-20 Championship.
Connacht hooker Dave Heffernan and Munster back Rory Scannell are poised to make their international bows too, with the matchday 23 completed by Dave Kilcoyne, Simon Zebo and Leinster pair Dan Leavy and Luke McGrath who have two caps each.
Saturday’s clash between the US Eagles and Ireland kicks off at 5pm local time/10pm Irish time and will be broadcast live on eir Sport 1 in Ireland and Premier Sports in the UK.
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 59
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 8
12. Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster) 9
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 3
9. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 13
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 67
2. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 4
3. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 6
4. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 1
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 47
6. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 13 CAPTAIN
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 7
8. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 1
16. Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) *
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 17
18. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) *
19. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) *
20. Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 2
21. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 2
22. Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) *
23. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 33
* Denotes uncapped player