Farrell elevates uncapped eight to Ireland squad for USA Eagles tie

Sanguine head coach explains ‘I’ve got to do what’s right for the team and for the player’

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said of the players that will not make the cut, ‘I hope that they’ve enjoyed the experience’. Photograph: Getty

The odds were always against all dozen of the uncapped players in Ireland's 37-man squad being afforded their Test debuts in this summer's mini-series. Compelled to play his best team against Japan, featuring just one newcomer, Andy Farrell has found room for eight more in the matchday squad to face the USA Eagles on Saturday.

Following on from Gavin Coombes last week, the Ulster quartet of Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Tom O'Toole and Nick Timoney all start, with potentially another four debutants off the bench in Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caelan Blade and Harry Byrne.

Alas some were always going to miss out, and the three who have are Tom Daly, Ross Molony and Peter Dooley.

“Well, it is what it is,” said Farrell, after what must have been his toughest conversations this past three weeks.


“I’ve got to do what’s right for the team and for the player. I hope that the guys that have not played understand that. Well, first of all I hope that they’ve enjoyed the experience. They’ve done unbelievably well to get into the room and it looks like they’ve loved the experience. We give them feedback of where we think they’re at but also it isn’t about getting just one cap is it.

“It’s about making sure that you’re good enough to get back in the room consistently. Like I said before, can we get 10 caps out of them? Can we get 15 and then push on to 20? So I hope this three weeks has been that way for most of the players within the squad.

“If you look at the guys that are playing this weekend: Robert Baloucoune, he’s been in a good few camps now, maybe as an apprentice, but he’s been there; Tom O’Toole has been in with us for two years and he’s come on a treat and he deserves his chance.

“So it’s not just a matter of coming in and getting selected or being disappointed, it’s about using it for the right reasons and growing as a player.”

The USA head coach Gary Gold has made three changes to the Eagles starting XV which lost 43-29 to England last Sunday. Hooker Joe Taufete’e, flanker Hanco Germishuys and sevens’ winger Christian Dyer, who scored on debut off the bench at Twickenham, are all promoted from the bench, with Mike Te’o switching to fullback.

The team features the former Munster Under-18 prop from Inishmore, and schooled in Glenstal, Paul Mullen, and the 23-year-old Luke Carty, younger brother of Jack who joined LA Giltinis in Major League Rugby this year and whose grandmother hails from New York.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD); Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen), James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor), Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen); Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf), Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon); Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne), Tom O'Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch), Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University), James Ryan (Leinster/UCD, capt), Caelan Doris (Leinster/UCD), Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge), Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster).

Replacements: Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers), Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD), Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers), Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster), Paul Boyle (Connacht/Lansdowne), Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians), Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne), Will Addison (Ulster/Enniskillen).

USA Eagles: Mike Te'o (Utah Warriors); Christian Dyer Wing (USA Sevens), Calvin Whiting (Utah Warriors), Bryce Campbell (Austin Gilgronis, capt), Mika Kruse (Utah Warriors), Luke Carty (LA Giltinis), Ruben de Haas (Austin Gilgronis), David Ainu'u (Toulouse), Joe Taufete'e (Lyon), Paul Mullen (Utah Warriors), Gregory Peterson (Newcastle Falcons). Nick Civetta (Rugby United New York), Hanco Germishuys (Rugby United New York), Riekert Hattingh (Seattle Seawolves), Cam Dolan (NOLA Gold).

Replacements: Kapeli Pifeleti (Saracens), Matt Harmon (NOLA Gold), Dino Waldren (NOLA Gold), Nate Brakeley (Rugby United New York), Psalm Wooching (San Diego Legion), Andrew Guerra (NOLA Gold), Michael Baska (Utah Warriors), Will Magie (Austin).