Here’s How We Expect Ireland To Line Out Against Fiji
Joe Schmidt is expected to make a number of changes for this weekend’s clash with Fiji after securing a record win over South Africa in their opening Guinness series Test over the weekend.
The Ireland boss has been somewhat disrupted with a number of injuries to players that he probably would have hoped to give a run out against Fiji.
Tommy O’Donnell, Dan Leavy and John Ryan have all been ruled out, while both Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan sat out training today, but are expected to be fit for the weekend.
In terms of the pack expect to see Jack McGrath come back in to the fold, with Rob Herring potentially getting a start at hooker. Andrew Porter will likely come in to replace John Ryan, with Furlong given a bit of a rest on the bench.
Ultan Dillane should be joined in the second-row alongside James Ryan providing he’s fit. If not expect to see Ulster’s Kieran Treadwell drafted in. Jordi Murphy has been brought back into the squad with Leavy and O’Donnell out and will likely be thrust straight into the starting line-up. Jack Conan and Rhys Ruddock should join him in the back-row, with the latter captaining the side.
The backline is where things get tricky. Everyone wants to see Carbery at fullback for Ireland, but as we all know, Schmidt wants him at ten and it’s understandable. Ireland are far from stocked at ten at the moment, and it makes sense to get Carbery some game time there.
In terms of the back three, Conway is the only other real viable option at fullback, with Darren Sweetnam expected to be handed a start on one wing, while the other wing is up for grabs. Schmidt will likely go with either Stockdale or perhaps Adam Byrne here.
In the centre we should see Chris Farrell make his debut alongside Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey, while Kieran Marmion should be promoted from the bench to start at nine.
Potential Ireland team to take on Fiji
Jacob Stockdale/Adam Byrne
James Ryan/Kieran Treadwell
Rhys Ruddock (captain)
As for the bench, it’s anyone’s guess really, but expect to see Luke McGrath, Ian Keatley and Tadhg Furlong anyway.