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Ireland make 12 changes and also name three new caps on bench

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Andy Farrell has revealed an Ireland team to take on Italy that has 12 changes from the starting XV in their Grand Slam-clinching win over England 20 weeks ago and includes three uncapped caps players – Tom Stewart, Ciaran Frawley and Calvin Nash – on their bench.


That 29-16 success on March 18 consolidated the Irish position at the top of the World Rugby rankings and heading into their Summer Nations Series opener in Dublin ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France, the head coach has opted to explore his squad depth.

With games against England and Samoa to follow later this month, the match versus the Azzurri is the first of three warm-ups before Farrell will cut his 42-strong squad to the requisite 33 on August 28 for the finals.

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Just three of the winners who started against the English are included – midfielder Robbie Henshaw, second row Ryan Baird, who will start at blindside on this occasion, and No8 Caelan Doris, who has been chosen at openside.

Iain Henderson will skipper the team, partnering Joe McCarthy at second row behind a front row of David Kilcoyne, Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole. Jack Conan at No8 completes the pack.


In the backs, Keith Earls features in the back three along with Jimmy O’Brien and Jacob Stockdale, Stuart McCloskey partners Henshaw at centre, while the half-backs are Jack Crowley and Craig Casey. Joining the newcomers Stewart, Frawley and Nash on the bench are Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Prendergast, Tadhg Beirne and Caolin Blade.

Ireland (vs Italy, Saturday – 8pm)
15. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) (5)
14. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) (98)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) (63)
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor (12)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) (35)
10. Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) (3)
9. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) (10)
1. David Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemian) (51)
2. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) (34)
3. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) (9)
4: Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) (72) (captain)
5. Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) (1)
6. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) (11)
7. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St. Mary’s College) (28)
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) (38)


16. Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)*
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) (123)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) (65)
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) (38)
20. Cian Prendergast (Connacht/UCD) (1)
21. Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) (1)
22. Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)*
23. Calvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster)*

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Michael 345 days ago

Interesting selection, a good opportunity for some. Doris at 7 ! Italy will give them a good game. Could be close.

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