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Four new caps included as Ireland make eight changes to their XV

By Liam Heagney

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Andy Farrell has made eight changes to his starting Ireland XV to face the USA this Saturday following last weekend’s win over Japan in Dublin. It’s a selection that contains four uncapped players – Ulster quartet Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney. There are also four uncapped rookies on the bench in Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade and Harry Byrne.

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Fresh from 39-31 victory over the Japanese, the eight changes are equally divided between backs and forwards. Baloucoune is chosen on the right wing in place of the injured Jordan Larmour, Hume is in midfield for the concussed Chris Farrell, Andrew Conway is on the left wing for Jacob Stockdale while Craig Casey makes his first Test start at No9 for Jamison Gibson-Park having been initially capped off the bench in the Six Nations.

In the pack, O’Toole takes over at tighthead from Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird, who looked decent off the bench last weekend, is at second row in place of Ultan Dillane and with the seasoned Peter O’Mahony allowed to start his holidays a week early, the impressive Caelan Doris moves to blindside to allow the one-cap Gavin Coombes start at No8 while Timoney is at openside for Josh van der Flier.

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IRELAND (vs USA, Saturday)
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 12 caps
14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) uncapped
13. James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps
11. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 24 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 23 caps
9. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 2 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 44 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 12 caps
3. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) uncapped
4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 4 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 36 caps captain
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 8 caps
7. Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped
8. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 1 cap

Replacements
16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 5 caps
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 5 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 15 caps
19. Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped
20. Paul Boyle (Connacht/Buccaneers) uncapped
21. Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) uncapped
22. Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) uncapped
23. Will Addison (Ulster/Enniskillen) 4 caps

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Four new caps included as Ireland make eight changes to their XV

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