Ireland team vs. Samoa: Andy Farrell changes it up, with World Cup opener in mind
This is the final run-out before we get to the really serious stuff.
Andy Farrell has named his Ireland team to face Samoa, on Saturday in Bayonne. As expected, he has made a raft of changes from the XV that did for England, last time out.
Farrell and his coaches will be using many of these players, from Saturday's match, for the World Cup opener against Samoa, so this is all about partnerships and cohesion (and trying to avoid defeat and injuries, too).
IRELAND TEAM (vs. Samoa)
15. Jimmy O'Brien
14. Mack Hansen
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Keith Earls
10. Jack Crowley
9. Conor Murray
1. Cian Healy
2. Tom Stewart
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Iain Henderson (captain)
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Ryan Baird
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris
Replacements: 16. Rob Herring, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Tom O'Toole, 19. James Ryan, 20. Peter O'Mahony, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Garry Ringrose.
By selecting Tadhg Beirne, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris to start on Saturday, it is unlikely we will see them in the Ireland XV for the opening game of the tournament against Romania, on September 9.
We will have all that Ireland team news, and reaction to it, as well as the Samoa 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.
Plenty of changes expected in that Ireland team
For this game against Samoa, we may see Rob Herring and Tom O'Toole start in the front row, backed up by either Tom Stewart or Diarmuid Barron.
Ryan Baird and Iain Henderson are set for another run in the second row, meaning we could see Caelan Doris start at openside again with Cian Prendergast No.8. Conor Murray and Jack Crowley makes sense as the 9/10 starters.
In the backline, Stuart McCloskey, Jimmy O'Brien and Jacob Stockdale will all be hoping for more starts, as they look to press home their usefulness to Andy Farrell before the Ireland squad is named next Monday (August 28).
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL ON FIRST CALL-UPS AND CAREER HIGHS:
- Keith Earls did the thing he vowed he'd never do again, but it was just too perfect
- Jack Crowley not letting Ross Byrne out of his sights, as Cian Prendergast books World Cup ticket
- Ireland vs. England: All the talking points, biggest moments and player ratings
- Roy Keane cracks jokes with Johnny Sexton and Andy Farrell at Ireland training camp
- Paul O'Connell on his most treasured jersey swap and toughest opponent