Joe Schmidt to name entirely changed Ireland team against Canada
Cian Healy, Seán O’Brien to start alongside Garry Ringrose with five uncapped players on bench
Eye on the ball: Garry Ringrose is set to make his long-awaited Test debut against Canada in the Guinness Series. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Ireland are set to name an entirely changed starting XV for Saturday’s second Test of this autumnal window and the first of their home Guinness Series against Canada. Garry Ringrose is set to make his long awaited Test debut, with the possibility of a further five uncapped players to emulate him off the replacements bench.
Although it was never explicitly stated when the original 34-man squad was announced – which was supposedly for the historic meeting with the All Blacks in Chicago last Saturday – that squad clearly was named with the first two matches in mind. Why else include the suspended Keith Earls or the injured Iain Henderson?
It always appeared that Joe Schmidt had picked a squad with the idea of rotating his entire starting XV from the game against New Zealand last Saturday. This would thus allow them to be wrapped in cotton wool for the Canadian game, so that they would be rested and fully recharged for the rematch with the All Blacks on Saturday week.
Little about the events of last Saturday in Soldier Field will have changed that selection approach, one imagines, save for the unfortunate Jordi Murphy suffering a knee injury. The reinstatement of Paddy Jackson, along with call-ups for David Kilcoyne, Dan Leavy, Niyi Adeolokun and Tiernan O’Halloran, further reinforces that view.
Jackson and O’Halloran, who made his debut in the third Test in South Africa before being forced off at half-time, are presumably in line to start, with Leavy and Adeolokun among those uncapped players on the bench. There they will perhaps be joined by the Leinster hooker James Tracy and Munster tight-head John Ryan.
Ringrose is likely to be one of seven players from last week’s bench promoted to the starting team, the others being the frontrow of Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Finlay Bealham along with Ultan Dilane and Josh van der Flier. The eighth, Joey Carbery, looks like remaining on the bench after his meteoric rise to his first cap for last week’s historic endgame.
Along with Henderson, Peter O’Mahony and Seán O’Brien will also, presumably, be given a chance to state their cases for the remainder of the November matches, as will Earls in a back three featuring Craig Gilroy and O’Halloran. Luke Marshall is an obvious choice to partner Ringrose.
With the games against New Zealand and Australia already sell-outs, 49,800 tickets have now been sold for Saturday’s game. The momentum gained by the historic win in Chicago has thus been translated into a sell-out for the Canada match.
“We are delighted and grateful to all the fans who are coming to support the team,” said Pádraig Power, commercial and marketing director of the IRFU.
Ireland (possible): Tiernan O’Halloran; Craig Gilroy, Garry Ringrose, Luke Marshall, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Seán Cronin, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Iain Henderson; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Seán O’Brien.
Replacements: David Kilcoyne, James Tracy, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Joey Carbery, Niyi Adeolokun.