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Dublin: -3 °C Tuesday 20 March, 2018

Chris Farrell to make Ireland debut as Schmidt makes 13 changes for Fiji

There are also first starts in green for Darren Sweetnam, Andrew Porter and Rob Herring.

Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey start in midfield for Ireland.
Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey start in midfield for Ireland.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

JOE SCHMIDT WILL use Saturday’s November international against Fiji to fully explore the depth of his squad, with the Ireland head coach making 13 changes in total from last week’s win over South Africa.

As was expected, Schmidt has shuffled his pack and hands an Ireland debut to Munster centre Chris Farrell and first starts to Darren Sweetnam, Andrew Porter and Rob Herring in a team captained by Rhys Ruddock.

Andrew Conway, who shifts to fullback, and Devin Toner are the only players to be retained from last week as the door opens for others to stake their claim in a green jersey.

Having played all his rugby at fullback for Leinster this season, Joey Carbery starts at out-half and partners Connacht’s Kieran Marmion in the half-back line with Farrell, on debut, lining up alongside Stuart McCloskey in a bulky midfield pairing.

Up front, Jack McGrath is handed a recall and provides considerable experience in the pack with Andrew Porter set for a first home game at the Aviva Stadium.

Ultan Dillane partners Toner in the second row and Ruddock, a second half replacement last Saturday, is joined in the back row by Leinster team-mates Jordi Murphy — called into the squad at the start of the week — and Jack Conan, who missed out against the Springboks through injury.

Both Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan miss out through injury while there are four starters from the opening November Test named on the bench.

Ireland (v Fiji):

15. Andrew Conway
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Chris Farrell
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Dave Kearney
10. Joey Carbery
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rob Herring
3. Andrew Porter
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Devin Toner
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Jack Conan


16. James Tracy
17. Cian Healy
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Kieran Treadwell
20. CJ Stander
21. Luke McGrath
22. Ian Keatley
23. Robbie Henshaw.

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