Full throttle Ireland team that Andy Farrell should select for England
Only one player from the Italy XV may start again.
Following Ireland's 33-17 World Cup warm-up win over Italy, Andy Farrell joked that he was 'sick of Caelan Doris getting man of the match'. On August 19, he would gladly take another such performance from the Leinster back row.
Doris had previously only played once before in the No.7 jersey - for Leinster in a Champions Cup win over Leicester Tigers - but did the jersey proud with a try-scoring, turnover-securing outing in green. Josh van der Flier is still the likely openside for big World Cup games but Doris getting time in the role, and doing well, has left Andy Farrell satisfied ahead of warm weather training in Portugal.
"He just keeps getting better and better," said Farrell of Doris. "We all know he's good at jackalling and good over the ball and I'm not sure if he took that through the roof because he had No 7 on his back.
"He epitomises what we're trying to do in terms of being in control of his own thoughts. It doesn’t matter if he makes a mistake or two, he gets on with the next job. He’s growing all the time, not just in the way he playing, but he's growing as far as his leadership role is concerned."
For the game against England, on August 19, expect Doris back to No.8, although Gavin Coombes will be dearly hoping Farrell leaves in reserve on the bench.
Full throttle Ireland team expected
Given that Ireland have Romania and Tonga in their opening World Cup games, we expect Andy Farrell to go with a close to full-strength starting XV against England, on August 19.
It would allow Farrell to ease off for that Samoa game and try a couple of combinations we may see in those opening two games. Ireland are very aware of their 15-game winning streak at Lansdowne Road, too, and Farrell will want his troops to make it 16 before they embark for France.
The starting team named for Italy was very much the veterans, hopefuls and newcomers, with four Lions also included [showing the Irish strength-in-depth]. It was a showing of Farrell's hand, and we would be very surprised if the starting team veered far from what we have below.
The back three has a familiar look, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose are reunited, Ross Byrne gets to start with Jamison Gibson-Park by his side and we have an all Leinster front row. James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne are in the second row, with Peter O'Mahony and Josh van der Flier getting first starts of the season. Doris is back at No.8, in our team. If that is how it plays out, Gavin Coombes may have to come to terms with missing out on the World Cup squad itself as the writing would be on the wall.
POTENTIAL IRELAND TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND
15. Hugo Keenan
14. Mack Hansen
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Bundee Aki
11. James Lowe
10. Ross Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park
1. Andrew Porter
2. Dan Sheehan
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Tadhg Beirne
5. James Ryan (captain)
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris
Andy Farrell does not name his Ireland team to face England until Thursday, August 17 and injuries may yet bring changes, but this is how we see it playing out.
- Jacob Stockdale outshines Keith Earls but Andy Farrell giving nothing away
- Cian Prendergast on the Ireland team bus and who gets the back row seats
- Iain Henderson had perhaps the most human reaction to Johnny Sexton situation
- Historic combined XV game confirmed as 2025 Lions tour fixtures announced
- Stuart McCloskey, the man they could no longer ignore
- Josh van der Flier flourishing under added hype and expectation was one of the season's best stories
- Tadhg Beirne and the Leinster mistake that gets worse every season