Rhys Ruddock to captain Emerging Ireland against Italy
JJ Hanrahan takes the number 10 jersey as Tbilsi Cup campaign begins
Rhys Ruddock will captain Emerging Ireland in their Tbilisi Cup opener against Emerging Italy. Photograph: Inpho
Rhys Ruddock will lead the team against emerging Italy, as a number of Ireland hopefuls look improve their chances of a place in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad.
Northampton bound JJ Hanrahan has the chance to pull the strings from outhalf, with Luke McGrath taking the number nine jersey.
Ulster’s powerful centre Stuart McCloskey starts at 12 as he looks to stake a late claim for a World Cup midfield slot, and he has Eoin Griffin - currently the only member of the side not plying his trade in Ireland - outside him at 13.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, Clarke said: “In the short period we have been together we have had a very positive response from the players. The game against Emerging Italy provides an opportunity for these players to illustrate to us how well they have prepared and their ability to cope within this challenging environment.”
After Saturday’s game Emerging Ireland play Uruguay next Wednesday and then Georgia on June 21st.
Emerging Ireland: Tiernan O’Halloran , Andrew Conway, Eoin Griffin, Stuart McCloskey, Matt Healy, JJ Hanrahan, Luke McGrath, Denis Buckley, Rob Herring, Stephen Archer, Ben Marshall, Billy Holland, Rhys Ruddock, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan