Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt has made 13 changes to the team that comprehensively defeated South Africa last weekend for this Saturday’s clash with Fiji at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 5.30pm).
Munster’s Chris Farrell is the only new cap in a very inexperienced starting team that also includes his provincial colleague Darren Sweetnam who made his Ireland debut off the bench last Saturday.
Centres Chris Farrell and Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey, as well as the back three of wingers Darren Sweetnam and Dave Kearney, and fullback Andrew Conway, who was impressive on the wing when scoring a try in the opening game of the 2017 Guinness Series last weekend, have a total of just 22 International caps between them, with Kearney accounting for 16 of them.
With both Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray being rested this weekend (they aren’t even named among the replacements), Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion take centre stage as the half back pairing.
Jack McGrath is the experienced name in the front row alongside both Ulster’s Rob Herring and Leinster Andrew Porter, the holders of a mere two International caps each.
Devin Toner keeps his place in the second row where he will be joined by Connacht’s Ultan Dillane.
Joe Schmidt has named St. Mary’s College’s Rhys Ruddock as captain this weekend. He is part of an all-Leinster backrow which also includes Jordi Murphy (who scored for the Barbarians against Tonga last Friday night) and Jack Conan.
The Ireland replacements include experience in the likes of Cian Healy, CJ Stander and Robbie Henshaw. Tadhg Furlong, Kieran Treadwell, Luke McGrath, Ian Keatley and James Tracy are also named on the bench.
15. Andrew Conway, 14. Darren Sweetnam, 13. Chris Farrell, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Kieran Marmion.
1. Jack McGrath, 2. Rob Herring, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Ultan Dillane, 5. Devin Toner, 6. Rhys Ruddock (captain), 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Jack Conan.
16. James Tracy, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Tadhg Furlong, 19. Kieran Treadwell, 20. CJ Stander, 21. Luke McGrath, 22. Ian Keatley, 23. Robbie Henshaw.