Kiss makes seven changes but retains Ian Madigan at outhalf
James Downey (32) finally gets ultimate reward, after being ignored for so many years
Ian Madigan is preferred again to Paddy Jackson at outhalf. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
It’s not the seven changes Les Kiss has made for his Ireland side to face Canada at the BMO Field on Saturday night (live on TG4, kick-off 1am Sunday) that are most interesting but his decision to retain Ian Madigan ahead of Paddy Jackson at outhalf.
Evidently, Madigan has leaped over his younger rival in the national pecking order with Kiss providing the consolation of guaranteeing Jackson some minutes, unlike last Saturday’s 15-12 defeat of the US Eagles in Houston.
In a sticky contest, Madigan’s five successful penalties, from six attempts, steered the ship home, obviously creating a level of trust between the coaches and the 24-year-old Blackrock man.
Isaac Boss’ retention at scrumhalf means Connacht’s Kieran Marmion will have to chalk this tour up to experience as Paul Marshall makes the bench.
But James Downey (32) finally gets the ultimate reward, after being ignored for so many years, as Stuart Olding makes way in midfield.
“James has been sensational in training,” said Kiss. “He’ll serve the gameplan very well.”
Despite 11 players being struck down with stomach bugs on Monday, a clean bill of health was confirmed yesterday but it definitely influenced selection.
After an injury-cursed two years, Felix Jones replaces Robbie Henshaw. The only other change to the backline sees Andrew Trimble take Simon Zebo’s number 11 jersey to win his 50th cap.
Up front, Tom Court sees off Dave Kilcoyne, while Dan Tuohy partners Devin Toner in the locking department.
Peter O’Mahony is joined by a new pair of flankers, Kevin McLaughlin and Tommy O’Donnell.
Canada coach Kieran Crowley will announce a starting XV today.
IRELAND: F Jones; F McFadden, D Cave, J Downey, A Trimble; I Madigan, I Boss; T Court, R Strauss, M Ross; D Tuohy, D Toner; K McLaughlin, T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony (capt). Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, D Fitzpatrick, M McCarthy, C Henry, P Marshall, P Jackson, R Henshaw.