Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery set to start for Ireland in Chicago
Jordan Larmour will continue at fullback for the Soldier Field clash against Italy
IIreland’s Joey Carbery and Luke McGrath during training ahead of the match against Italy at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Former Leinster partnership Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery will direct matters against Italy in Chicago on Saturday as this great Joe Schmidt project potentially begins its final countdown at the scene of Irish rugby’s greatest ever victory.
The team expected to start at Soldier Field retains just one starter, Jack McGrath, from the 2016 victory over New Zealand, and three of the Grand Slam side from Twickenham last March with Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose in midfield while Jacob Stockdale reappears at left wing.
Dan Leavy was a surprise inclusion in the Leinster squad en route to South Africa as the openside seeks game time and form. However, the European champions still make up the national backrow of Rhys Ruddock – who probably captains the team – Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan.
Other key decisions by Schmidt have Munster’s Niall Scannell preferred at hooker over Sean Cronin while Quinn Roux and Tadhg Beirne form a new second row pairing.
Andrew Conway is set to play right wing with Jordan Larmour continuing his development at fullback.
Ireland (possible): J Larmour; A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, N Scannell, A Porter; T Beirne, Q Roux; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.