5 Talking Points As Ireland Team Named For World Cup Opener With Scotland

Japan ready.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt this morning named his team for Sunday’s World Cup pool opener with Scotland in Japan – with a few surprise selection decisions.

Joey Carbery failed to make the squad despite training all week, while Rob Kearney and Keith Earls are also nowhere to be seen having failed to recover in time from their respective injuries.

Here are five talking points.

Larmour at fullback.
An interesting decision here with the Leinster youngster set to replace Rob Kearney in arguably the biggest match of his career to date. Reports this week suggested Conway would be the man tasked at filling in at fullback, but he instead starts on the right wing. There’s no doubt Larmour offers a spark in attack but Scotland will target him in defence and in the air.

Stander over Conan.
There were plenty of calls over the last few weeks for Conan to start over Stander, but in all honesty, he simply didn’t do enough in his two starts against Wales to overtake the Lions back-rower. Big game needed from Stander on Sunday.

Ringrose at 13.
With Robbie Henshaw ruled out Schmidt had a big call to make in terms of his replacement. Ringrose hasn’t been in the best of form, while Chris Farrell is yet to leave him down in a green jersey. But Farrell will have to make do with a spot on the bench with Ringrose handed the 13 jersey. The Leinster youngster will also be expected to cover the wing should any injuries occur.

Carty on the bench.
All the signs this week pointed towards Carbery on the bench with the Munster outhalf training fully all week but it’s Connacht’s Jack Carty who will act as cover for Johnny Sexton. Was Carbery fit and he just decided to go with Carty who has been playing well or is he still struggling? Either way if anything happens to Sexton, Carty will have to step up on the biggest stage of them all.

Beirne ready to make a difference.
There was a bit of chat this week that Kleyn would get the nod over Beirne on the bench, but thankfully Schmidt has gone with the former Scarlets man. No offence to Kleyn, he’s a fantastic player but Beirne’s turnover threat and ability to cover the back-row too makes him a much better option.