"It's a huge honour" - Keith Earls captains as Ireland name team to face Maori All Blacks
The Munster star will partner Stuart McCloskey in the centre.
Keith Earls has been named captain of an Ireland team to face the Maori All Blacks at SKY Stadiun in Wellington on Tuesday evening [kick-off 8:05am Irish time].
Andy Farrell has effectively made three changes from the midweek side that lost the first game against the Maoris, 32-17. Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey is named at inside centre, alongside Earls. By shifting to the 13 jersey, it allows Jimmy O'Brien to start on the left wing.
Mike Lowry gets the No.15 jersey in his first tour start. Craig Casey and Ciarán Frawley start again in the half back pairing, as does Jordan Larmour on the right wing.
Niall Scannell, a tour call-up after a training injury to Rob Herring, gets a start at hooker. Now fit again, and having come off the bench against New Zealand at the weekend, Herring takes his place with the replacements for this game. The second and back rows are unchanged from that first Maori All Blacks game.
Keith Earls on captaincy honour
Nearing 100 Test caps for Ireland, Keith Earls spoke today of the privilege of leading this team out, in Wellington, on Tuesday night.
"First time I've been captain of any professional side, I think. The last time I was captain of a side was Thomond Under 14s.
"So, delighted. Especially as it's my country and it's captaining an exciting bunch of young lads, coming through.
"It's huge," he added. "It has already been a historic tour, and hopefully we can get a win on Tuesday, too, and give us momentum going into [the Third Test on] Saturday."
Harry Byrne [hamstring] will not feature in any of the tour games, while Dave Heffernan [concussion] is undergoing the 12-day minimum rest period.
IRELAND TEAM vs. MAORI ALL BLACKS
15. Mike Lowry
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Jimmy O’Brien
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Keith Earls (captain)
10. Ciaran Frawley
9. Craig Casey
1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Niall Scannell
3. Tom O’Toole
4. Joe McCarthy
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. Cian Prendergast
7. Nick Timoney
8. Gavin Coombes
REPLACEMENTS: Rob Herring, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Mack Hansen.
Stream the biggest sporting moments with NOW, including all the final Test match between Ireland and New Zealand, as well as the midweek game against the Maori All Blacks, on Wednesday, July 13 [from 8:05am].