Six changes to Ireland side to face Japan
June 15, 2017 11:30 am client
There are six changes in personnel to the side that started last weekend’s 55-19 victory over the USA in New Jersey.
Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy will make their first starts, with Andrew Conway and Rory Scannell also named in the starting XV.
Scannell will partner Garry Ringrose in a new centre combination, while former Ireland Under-20 team-mates McGrath and Paddy Jackson will fill the half-back berths against one of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2019 pool opponents.
Leavy is the only change up front, featuring at openside flanker in an all-Leinster back row with Rhys Ruddock, who captains Ireland for the second time, and Jack Conan who was one of eight Irish try scorers in the 55-19 win over the US Eagles last weekend.
Keith Earls, the man-of-the-match in the tour opener, shifts to the left wing to accommodate the inclusion of Conway in an all-Munster back-three completed by Simon Zebo, who returns at full-back.
The same front five will pack down again with Cian Healy, Scannell’s older brother Niall and John Ryan manning the front row positions, while Quinn Roux and Devin Toner, who is edging closer to a half-century of caps, will get a second successive outing together in the engine room.
After a breakthrough season with Leinster, Rory O’Loughlin is in line to make his debut from the bench.
O’Loughlin made 21 appearances for the province in the 2016/17 season, scoring 10 tries.
James Tracy is also set for his first appearances of the tour from the bench.
With 12 of the matchday squad having five caps or less, Joe Schmidt is looking forward to seeing how those players fare against a passionate and well-drilled Japanese in testing conditions.
“I think we have some injured guys at home who might otherwise have been with us,” Schmidt said ahead of Saturday’s Test.
“They would have added a bit of guidance and experience, some of them have played here before, but I think it’s a great opportunity to learn who can adapt and who can adapt the fastest because some of these players are being thrown in the deep end and I have to say the coaching staff are looking forward to seeing how they go.”
15. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 34 caps
14. Andrew Conway(Garryowen/Munster) 1
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 9
12. Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 1
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 60
10. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 23
9. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 3
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 68
2. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 5
3. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 7
4. Quinn Roux(Galwegians/Connacht) 2
5. Devin Toner(Lansdowne/Leinster) 48
6. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 14 CAPTAIN
7. Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 3
8. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 2
16. James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) 2
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 18
18. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 6
19. Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster) *
20. Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 1
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 14
22. Rory O’Loughlin (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
23. Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht) 4
* Denotes uncapped player