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Joe Schmidt makes six changes to Irish side to face Japan

Hooker James Tracy will start in an Irish team for the first time.

Ireland players send a good luck message to Peter O'Mahony after he was announced as the Lions captain for the first test against New Zealand.
Ireland players send a good luck message to Peter O'Mahony after he was announced as the Lions captain for the first test against New Zealand.

By John Fallon in Tokyo

IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt has made six changes to the side for the second and concluding test against Japan on Saturday at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Hooker James Tracy will start in an Irish team for the first time when he wins his fourth cap while Kieran Treadwell, who made his debut off the bench in the 50-22 win over Japan last Saturday, starts this time round.

John Cooney, who will move from Connacht to Ulster for the new season, is poised to become the eighth player to make his debut on this tour if he is sprung from the bench.

Three of the changes are at the back with Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Marmion coming into the side for Simon Zebo, Rory Scannell and Luke McGrath in a move which sees Andrew Conway go from wing to full-back.

Up front, Tracy takes over from Niall Scannell, Treadwell comes in for Quinn Roux, while Josh van der Flier returns at the expense of Dan Leavy.

Devin Toner will win his 50th cap in this match, with Cian Healy chalking up his 70th appearance.

Seven players — Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Healy, Toner, John Ryan, captain Rhys Ruddock and No.8 Jack Conan — will start all three summer tests unless there are late changes.

Schmidt said that a number of the changes were influenced by knocks picked up in last weekend’s 50-22 win over Japan and that McGrath (eye), Zebo (knee) and Leavy (cuts and bruises) were not risked.

“A couple of other changes are offering opportunities to players who didn’t get a chance last week.

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“We know it will be tougher this weekend. They would have worked hard during the week, we have done the same and I think with a couple of the younger players (that Japan have brought in) we have got to potentially work harder to get the scoring positions we got last week,” said Schmidt.

Ireland: A Conway; K Earls, G Ringrose, L Marshall, J Stockdale; P Jackson, K Marmion; C Healy, J Tracy, John Ryan; K Treadwell, D Toner; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: N Scannell, D Kilcoyne, A Porter, James Ryan, S Reidy, J Cooney, R Scannell, T O’Halloran. 

 

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John Fallon

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