Ireland blood four new caps as team named for USA clash

Andy Farrell has made seven changes to the starting XV for Saturday match against USA

Andy Farrell has radically changed the Irish starting XV and matchday squad for Saturday's meeting with the USA Eagles at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.15pm, live on RTE and C4 NI).

In all there are seven changes to the starting XV, with debuts for a quartet of Ulster players - Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Tom O'Toole and Nick Timoney - and first test starts for Craig Casey, Ryan Baird and Gavin Coombes. The Munsterman, who made his debut off the bench in last week's 39-31 win over Japan, starts at number eight, with Timoney at openside and Caelan Doris shifting to blindside.

There are another potential four debutants off the bench in Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caelan Blade and Harry Byrne.

The side will again be led by James Ryan, who at 24-years-old, is the second most experienced player in the matchday squad behind David Kilcoyne (44 caps). Whereas last week's starting XV had 347 caps between them, and a further 59 on the bench, this week's run-on line-up has just 171 caps, with the replacements having just 29 between them, of which Finlay Bealham accounts for 15.


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).

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times