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03rd Aug 2023

Ireland team vs. Italy: Andy Farrell mixes it up for first World Cup warm-up

Patrick McCarry

Ireland team

The World Cup countdown is officially on.

Andy Farrell has named his first Ireland team of the season, on Thursday, and started down the road to the World Cup, in France.

Farrell has mixed up his starting XV and give new combinations a go, when Italy visit Aviva Stadium this Saturday. There will be plenty of experienced heads in the match-day 23, too, with Iain Henderson captaining and Keith Earls, Rob Herring and Dave Kilcoyne included.

We will have all that Ireland team news, and reaction to it, as well as the Italy match-day 23 announcement and other World Cup warm-up news in our live feed and click on the key points if they catch your eye.

Ireland team

Andy Farrell to field new-look Ireland team

Ahead of the announcement of this Ireland team, forwards coach Paul O’Connell spoke with the media and gave his thoughts on the Johnny Sexton suspension.

“I’d say it’s a worry for him, you know,” said O’Connell. “He wants to finish playing really, really well, and I’d say he’d love to have a few more games under his belt.”

“Johnny is very good at being able to come back from injury and hit the ground running,” O’Connell added. “Out-half, you need to be fit but it’s maybe not the work rate position that a back three or maybe even some of the forwards is. You can come in and hit the ground running pretty well and he’s been really good at that. Whenever he’s come back from injuries, he rarely needs a lot of games to get back up and running. It’s a real strength of his.”

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