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Thursday Aug 17, 2023

Andy Farrell names locked and loaded Irish team for England clash

Ireland Rugby head coach Andy Farrell has named a near full-strength team to tackle England at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

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For the world’s number one side, this is just their second World Cup warm-up fixture as they look to build through what will be an exceptionally tough pool round.

Outside of suspended captain Johnny Sexton, centre Robbie Henshaw and number eight Caelen Doris, the starting side that Farrell has named resembles the one that won the Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year.

Due to Sexton’s absence, secondrow James Ryan will captain Ireland for the 8th time in his career.

Ryan is not short of experience to rely on, with several of his teammates having more than fifty test caps.

Partnering Ryan in the secondrow is Tadhg Beirne whilst Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, and Andrew Porter renew their front row combination.

In the backrow, reigning World Player Of The Year Josh van der Flier is joined by Munster stalwart Peter O’Mahony and 23-year-old Connacht star Cian Prendergast who gets the nod at number eight.

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Marshalling the backline will be the Leinster pairing of Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne, with Munster duo Conor Murray and Jack Crowley providing cover from the bench.

The centre partnership of Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose link up once again, with Robbie Henshaw currently side-lined with a niggle.

Completing the backline are Hugo Keenan, James Lowe and Mack Hansen, who once again form a dynamic back three.

On the bench, 35-year-old Keith Earls will earn his 100th test cap for Ireland when he comes onto the pitch.

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Earls, who made his debut in 2008, has battled several serious injuries throughout his career but will become the 9th Irish player to hit the 100 test mark in what is a testament to his exceptional professionalism.

Saturday’s clash will kick off at 5pm local time.

Ireland team to play England:

Hugo Keenan (Leinster); Mack Hansen (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Bundee Aki (Connacht), James Lowe (Leinster); Ross Byrne (Leinster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster); Andrew Porter (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), James Ryan (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster), Cian Prendergast (Connacht).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ulster), Jeremy Loughman (Munster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Joe McCarthy (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster).

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