The Ireland Team We Now Want To See Start Against Italy

Changes.

Ireland’s hopes of a second Grand Slam in three years were crushed on Sunday by England with Andy Farrell’s side suffering a 24-12 defeat at Twickenham.

The scoreline might suggest the game was evenly matched, but those who saw the game know that is certainly not the case. Andrew Porter scored a late try to put some gloss on the final score but in truth – Ireland were demolished from start to finish.

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A number of key men failed to show for Ireland up on the day including captain Johnny Sexton and his halfback partner Conor Murray. Ireland made countless errors and were bullied up front. England, in all honesty, should have claimed a bonus-point but weren’t clinical enough.

So what now? Well, changes are needed for the Italy game, whether they were planned or not. And this time if guys impress then they should be retained for the France game.

It’s time guys like John Cooney, Ronan Kelleher and Chris Farrell were given a chance to start and prove they can improve Ireland. Yes, it’s Italy, so we don’t expect sweeping changes but do expect Farrell to shuffle things around and drop guys that aren’t in form.

The only real exception is Sexton who played well in the opening two games and needs to be retained both because he’s the captain and the fact that he needs a good game to bounce back. Maybe if a fit Joey Carbery was in the squad it would be a different story.

Anyway, here’s the team we would go with…

Potential Ireland team to face Italy

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton (c)
9. John Cooney

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. James Ryan
5. Iain Henderson
6. CJ Stander
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris

Replacements: Herring, McGrath, Porter, Dillane, O’Mahony, Murray, Burns, Addison