Rugby

Joe Schmidt Is Set To Spring Another Surprise At Centre For Welsh Warm Up

Joe Schmidt Is Set To Spring Another Surprise At Centre For Welsh Warm Up

Joe Schmidt has sprung another selection in his search for depth in Ireland's centre positions. So far in the World Cup warm up series - Darren Cave, Keith Earls, Gordon D'Arcy and Jared Payne have been given their chance to impress the head coach. Now, it's likely to be the turn of Robbie Henshaw and Luke Fitzgerald according to the Irish Independent

Fitzgerald hasn't played centre for Ireland since that devastating loss to New Zealand in 2013 - but was outstanding in the 13 jersey for Leinster at the turn of the year.

It's likely that Schmidt is looking for cover behind his first choice centres and trying to separate the mass talent at his disposal on the wing.

Keith Earls will be handed an opportunity to impress on the wing, oppose Dave Kearney who had a big impact off the bench against Scotland last time out. Meanwhile, Tommy Bowe will be given an opportunity for some minutes in Ulster's pre-season friendly.

The game will also see the return to the team of big guns Conor Murray, Rob Kearney, Johnny Sexton, and Peter O'Mahony; which will also represent the last appearance in Irish colours on Irish soil for Paul O'Connell.

At Tighthead, Joe Schmidt will named someone not named Mike Ross for the first time in his 21-game tenure with Nathan White set to continue to be given an opportunity. It's not clear whether Marty Moore will be fit to be able to take his place on the bench, but Tadhg Furlong will be covering just in case.

The Irish Independent is reporting that the prognosis on Cian Healy looks good, and while he won't be ready for Saturday's game, he is likely to be ready to be named in the squad on Sunday/Monday.

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[Irish Independent]

Predicted Ireland Team To Play Wales:

1. Jack McGrath
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Mike Ross Nathan White
4. Iain Henderson
5. Paul O'Connell (c)
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Conor Murray
10. Jonathan Sexton
11. Keith Earls
12. Robbie Henshaw
13. Luke Fitzgerald
14. Dave Kearney
15. Rob Kearney

Replacements:
16. Rory Best
17. Michael Bent
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Donnacha Ryan
20. Chris Henry
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Andrew Trimble

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Conor O'Leary
Article written by
"That's what." - She.

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