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Leinster's Ross Byrne in line for first Test start as Ireland set to make multiple changes for Twickenham

By Liam Heagney
England will be hoping their speed off the line can pressure Byrne, (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Joe Schmidt is poised to give back-up Leinster out-half Ross Byrne a first-ever Test start for Ireland when they play England at Twickenham on Saturday. 

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Byrne, the 24-year-old back-up at Leinster to Johnny Sexton, came into the World Cup pre-season as fourth-ranked Ireland out-half behind Sexton, Joey Carbery and Jack Carty, the Connacht out-half who got in ahead of Byrne to play three Six Nations games off the bench last spring. 

With Carbery now out of action until potentially the first weekend of the World Cup, Schmidt is set to give Byrne his biggest examination yet following two caps as a replacement last November – versus Italy in Chicago and USA in Dublin.  

Starting at Twickenham will be a massive audition for the Test level rookie, but it would see him jump ahead of Carty in the out-half pecking order as Schmidt has yet to give the Connacht No10 a start in his four-cap Test career. 

Byrne, though, can expect to be surrounded by some of world rugby’s most experienced international players in London as Schmidt is likely to make wholesale changes for Twickenham following the scratchy August 10 win over Italy in Dublin. 

Only Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour and Jean Kleyn are expected to retain their places from that 29-10 win in the first of Ireland’s four warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup in Japan where they must hit the ground running as their opening match is against Six Nations rivals Scotland on September 22 in Yokohama.  

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Ireland (probable v England, Saturday)

15 – Rob Kearney

14 – Jacob Stockdale

13 – Garry Ringrose

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12 – Bundee Aki

11 – Jordan Larmour

10 – Ross Byrne

9 – Conor Murray

1 – Cian Healy 

2 – Rory Best (captain)

3 – Tadhg Furlong

4 – Jean Kleyn

5 – Iain Henderson

6 – Peter O’Mahony    

7 – Josh van der Flier

8 – CJ Stander

WATCH: The RugbyPass guide to Yokohoma where Ireland will face Scotland in their opening World Cup match

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