Ireland are set to name an experimental side to face Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday – RugbyPass understands.
Italy have in the past served as a pre-World Cup warm-up match in which Ireland have experimented. The then Eddie O’Sullivan coached men in green came infamously close to a loss against the Italians in Ravenhill in 2007.
A last gasp, controversial Ronan O’Gara try was all that stood between the sides on that occasion, saving the blushes for all concerned.
A source close to the Ireland camp has disclosed to RugbyPass what the likely starting fifteen to play Italy is and it includes a host of new combinations, which will see several of Ireland’s less experienced internationals getting a pre-Rugby World Cup run out.
Saturday’s match may well be the last opportunity for many of the players involved to make a case for inclusion ahead the confirmation of Schmidt’s 31-man squad.
In the front row loosehead Jack McGrath will partner Rob Herring at hooker and Andrew Porter at tighthead. Returning from injury, veteran Devin Toner will join South African born Munsterman and Irish debutant Jean Kleyn in a new look engine room.
Probable Ireland XV vs Italy
Rhys Ruddock or Tadhg Beirne
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