A couple of injuries across the Ireland team have forced Andy Farrell to make some changes ahead of Wales’ visit to the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.


Peter O’Mahony starts at blindside in place of Caelan Doris, with CJ Stander moving to No8, while uncapped Max Deegan is on the bench. In the backs, Robbie Henshaw replaces Garry Ringrose, with Keith Earls promoted to the bench.

While the win over Scotland last weekend pleased Farrell, particularly in light of the performance that Gregor Townsend’s side put it, there will be plenty of areas he will want to improve upon.

However, one thing that has concerned many supporters is that this starting XV is similar enough to the one that started against the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final – 11 players who started in Tokyo start here (13 started the World Cup win over Scotland in Yokohama).

This would not usually be a concern, except Ireland were comprehensively humbled by the All Blacks.

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Andy Farrell and Johnny Sexton talk following Ireland’s 19-12 win over Scotland last weekend

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Many expected this to be a new era under Farrell, but that has not necessarily been reflected in starting selection.

But the bench offers much more promise with rookie Deegan and one of the form players in Europe, John Cooney, who is at the centre of selection debate.


It is not solely the personnel that let Ireland down at the RWC though, rather the hackneyed approach of former coach Joe Schmidt which was no longer bringing the success it did in 2018.

A change in style from Farrell may be all that is needed rather than wholesale changes to the squad.

While there were still some remnants in the way Ireland attacked from the Schmidt era against Scotland, namely the wrap-around for Johnny Sexton’s try, there were also changes in Ireland’s attacking structure.

What’s more, many players have picked up their form since the RWC, particularly with Leinster and Ulster playing so well, and they warrant their Test team selection.

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