Sexton back at 10 as Schmidt names Ireland side for Wales warm-up 2 weeks ago

Sexton back at 10 as Schmidt names Ireland side for Wales warm-up

The last of the shadow-boxing is here, and the gloves are off.

Ireland welcome Wales to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday for their final warm-up game before the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Schmidt made some difficult calls during the week to whittle his squad down to the 31 required. He'll have one set of fingers crossed for a good performance on Saturday, and everything else for a clean bill of health before jetting off.

It's been a mixed bag so far for Ireland, a routine and uninspiring defeat of Italy was followed up by a frankly embarassing 57-15 defeat to England in Twickenham, before some order was restored in an improved victory over Wales in Cardiff last weekend.

It's a near full-strength side for Ireland, with big guns like Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and Conor Murray returning to the backs, while Schmidt has kept the faith in veteran hooker and captain Rory Best. Sean Cronin will replace the Ulsterman from the bench. No place on the bench for Joey Carbery, this week's game coming too soon after an ankle injury picked up against the Azzurri back in August.

It's a new-look back row, with Leinster's Jack Conan and Josh van der Flier at 8 and 7 respectively, while CJ Stander will look to regain his best form at 6 ahead of Ireland's Pool A opener against Scotland two weeks on Sunday.

Garry Ringrose fills the utility back spot on the bench, it will be interesting to see what positions the usual-centre will be asked to cover.

Ireland team to play Wales

Backs
15. Rob Kearney

14. Jordan Larmour

13. Robbie Henshaw

12. Bundee Aki

11. Keith Earls

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Conor Murray

Forwards

1. Cian Healy

2. Rory Best (capt.)

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. James Ryan

5. Jean Kleyn

6. CJ Stander.

7. J van der Flier

8. Jack Conan

Subs

16. Sean Cronin

17. David Kilcoyne

18. Andrew Porter

19. Iain Henderson

20. Rhys Ruddock

21. Luke McGrath

22. Jack Carty

23. Garry Ringrose