Rugby | 1 week ago
Here's how Ireland should line up against Fiji after the latest injury updates
Three men down

Joe Schmidt's plans have been somewhat disrupted by injuries to three men that were due a run-out on Saturday.

Less than an hour after Ireland's 38-3 victory over the Springboks, the Ireland coach claimed he was "Fiji-focused" and eager to build on his side's positive start.

Schmidt will now have to plan without Tommy O'Donnell and Dan Leavy, as well as Keith Earls, while John Ryan is back down at Munster and getting a calf strain assessed. Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan both sat out Tuesday training after sustaining "bangs". Michael Bent has been called in to train but is unlikely to make the weekend squad.

The Ireland coach has drafted in back-rows Jordi Murphy and Sean Reidy, from Leinster and Ulster respectively, so must be planning to give his frontliners - O'Mahony, O'Brien and Stander - a weekend off. Ultan Dillane and James Ryan could form an exciting second row but don't be shocked if Devin Toner is retained as that lineout banker.

His big calls appear to be in the front row and back three. Ireland will aim to put the squeeze on Fiji's set-piece so the temptation will be to put a couple of experienced heads in the front row, Fortunately, Jack McGrath should be good to go but Schmidt may opt for either Rory Best or Tadhg Furlong to start, to drive home that advantage.

There are a myriad of ways to set up the Irish back three. Dave Kearney and Adam Byrne could start on the left and right wings, with Andrew Conway switching his 14 jersey for 15 to face Fiji.

This game is a perfect opportunity to get Joey Carbery in from the start, but the big question is whether the Leinster back will be given the 10 or 15 jersey.

The team below is how we feel Schmidt will go but, as he showed with the Conway and Cian Healy calls last week, the Ireland coach can be extremely hard to predict when it comes to team selections.

IRELAND 

Andrew Conway

Darren Sweetnam
Chris Farrell
Stuart McCloskey
Jacob Stockdale/Dave Kearney

Joey Carbery
Kieran Marmion

Jack McGrath
Rory Best (captain)
Andrew Porter

Ultan Dillane
James Ryan

Rhys Ruddock (captain)
Jordi Murphy
Jack Conan

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Replacements: James Tracy, Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Luke McGrath, Ian Keatley, Dave Kearney/Adam Byrne.

Episode 37 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features Sam Warburton, Garry Ringrose and Rugby World's Paul Williams.


While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!


Read more about:

Ireland, GuinnessRugby, Guinness Series, Fiji