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Ireland's Likely Starting XV Has One Notable Omission

Ireland's Likely Starting XV Has One Notable Omission
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Joe Schmidt is a man of habit. International teams have to be named at least 48 hours before kick-off, and Schmidt will never divulge his team before that. Not publicly anyway. His players will know the team at the start of the weekend, so that they can focus on the combinations and making sure that they are all on the same page ahead of the game.

That means that eagle-eyed viewers at training will be able to deduce the starting XV. The reports this morning seem to confirm that while Robbie Henshaw's hamstring has recovered - Schmidt isn't willing to play the Connacht centre without having a week of training under his belt.

This means that he will revert to the centre combination that plundered the Welsh in the first game of the warm-up. Darren Cave makes his first appearance in a World Cup alongside Keith Earls, after being surprisingly left out when Henshaw was struck down last week.

The other main headline from the presumed Ireland team is a return to the starting lineup for Cian Healy. Healy made his comeback from neck surgery off the bench last week, and will be given a chance to get more minutes under his belt.

Devin Toner will be another given a chance to stake his claim for a starting spot for the big games, after Iain Henderson barged through Joe Schmidt's door with some barnstorming displays. He should be partnered by Donnacha Ryan, with Paul O'Connell set to drop to the bench. Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, and Johnny Sexton will be given the week off after missing some training for precautionary reasons.

Schmidt is set to make between 11 and 13 changes, with Earls the most likely to be asked to play again. It's a toss up who will play between Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan at 10, with Madigan a possibility to cover both scrumhalf and outhalf from the bench.

Possible Ireland Team To Play Romania:

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1. Cian Healy
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Nathan White
4. Devin Toner
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. Jordi Murphy
7. Chris Henry
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Eoin Reddan
10. Paddy Jackson / Ian Madigan
11. Dave Kearney / Luke Fitzgerald
12. Darren Cave
13. Keith Earls
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney / Simon Zebo

[Irish Times / Irish Independent]

See Also: Former All-Black Captain Has Pointed Out One Weakness In Ireland's Game
See Also: Some Cracking Photos Have Emerged From The Irish Rugby Trip To Alton Towers

Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

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