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Open Thread: What Irish team would you pick to face South Africa on Saturday

Joe Schmidt has fewer and fewer players to choose from, but there are still big calls to be made.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated at 9am

TODAY, JOE SCHMIDT will release his first team-sheet of the new international season.

With less than 12 months to go before the World Cup final, every game presents valuable opportunities for players to impress. But the November visits of southern hemisphere giants always stand out above the rest.

South Africa have already laid their cards on the table with a starting line-up that is unchanged from their win over New Zealand.

Ireland on the other hand, will be missing a host of names from our own near miss against the World Champions this time last year. Schmidt’s options are reduced by injuries. [particularly in the front row] but there are still plenty of big calls to make.

Here’s how we think Schmidt will set up his stall at tomorrow’s team announcement at Carton House.

Sean Farrell:

R Kearney; T Bowe, R Henshaw, G D’Arcy, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray: J McGrath, S Cronin, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements: R Strauss, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D Foley, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, J Payne.

Murray Kinsella:

R Kearney; T Bowe, R Henshaw, G D’Arcy, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray: J McGrath, S Cronin, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements: R Strauss, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D Foley, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, J Payne.

Will Slattery:

R Kearney, T Bowe, R Henshaw, G D’Arcy, C Gilroy, J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, S Cronin, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements: R Strauss, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D Foley, R Ruddock, K Marmion, I Madigan, J Payne.

Not much variety between our three selections, is there?

Who would you pick?

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