Rugby Union

Ireland well-prepared for final warm-up match

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Ireland have named an experienced team to face England in their last warm up match before the World Cup.

Simon Zebo comes in at full-back, Rob Kearney has picked up a bruised knee against Wales and is rested. Schmidt has stated an interest in seeing what Zebo can do from full-back.

There is no specialist full-back on the bench but both Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw started out at full-back and can cover, Tommy Bowe and Dave Kearney can also play the position.


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Bowe gets a chance to show his skills after playing for Ulster last weekend. Whilst Dave Kearney is retained after a strong performance. Keith Earls picked up a knock last weekend and had to be stretchered off after a blow to the head, so he has been given time to recover.

Luke Fitzgerald is also rested after picking up a knock, so Schmidt has put in his first choice centre partnership of Henshaw and Payne. Darren Cave is on the bench and Schmidt has stated he want to see what Cave can do, so expect an early appearance from him.

Johnny Sexton and Conner Murray make another start, to give them a chance to shake off any rust left from preseason training. Ian Madigan is on the Bench, and it will be interesting to see if he come on for Sexton or Murray, after Joe Schmidt stated he was going to experiment with Madigan at scrum-half, Eoin Reddan is also on the bench.

Jack McGrath retains his place while usual first choices Rory Best and Mike Ross return to the starting line-up. Tadhg Furlong will cover loose head this weekend after being played on the tighthead side last weekend. Nathan White and Richardt Strauss are also on hand to cover the front row.

Paul O’Connell had been on the cards to be rested however Schmidt has said his Captain refused to be dropped and so retains his starting place alongside the giant Devon Toner. Munster's Donnacha Ryan is second row cover.

The first choice backrow of O’Brien, O’Mahony and Heaslip is selected, with Chris Henry on the Bench.

Fullback aside this looks to be a first class Irish outfit. Stuart Lancaster should be worried.

Ireland: Simon Zebo (Munster); Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Dave Kearney (Leinster); Johnny Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster); Jack McGrath (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster); Devin Toner (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (Munster) capt; Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Darren Cave (Ulster).

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Ireland Rugby
Rugby Union
England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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