Picking The Ireland Team For Saturday’s Warm-Up Game With Italy

The road to Japan.

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup preparations ramp up on Saturday with the first warm-up game against Conor O’Shea’s Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

Head coach Joe Schmidt has been putting the players through the paces over the last number of weeks, with a strong focus on strength and conditioning.

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But the real test is on the pitch, and with the current squad of around 44 set to be trimmed down to just 31 come Japan – the upcoming block of games will be the last chance for players to book their ticket.

That being said we reckon Schmidt will give a number of fringe players a run out on Saturday to prove their worth. We expect to see the likes of uncapped duo Jean Kleyn and Mike Haley play a part, as well as guys like Andrew Conway, Rhys Ruddock and Kieran Marmion.

In our team we’ve gone with a mix of fringe players, as well as some established stars that could do with a run out in green.

Here’s the Ireland team we’d go with on Saturday:

15. Mike Haley
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Dave Kearney
10. Joey Carbery
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Jack McGrath
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Devin Toner
5. Jean Kleyn
6. Rhys Ruddock (c)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:
16. Rob Herring
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Luke McGrath
22. Ross Byrne
23. Will Addison