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Schmidt makes six changes to Ireland side ahead of Japan Test

Off the back of a comprehensive win over the US Eagles, Ireland face stiffer competition in Shizuoka on Saturday.

Seven players will make their first starts of the trip.
Seven players will make their first starts of the trip.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated 9.42

IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt has made six changes to his side ahead of their Test match against Japan on Saturday [KO 6am Irish time, live on eir Sport].

Last time out, Ireland saw off the US Eagles 55-19, but this weekend will prove more of a challenge.

Seven players — Simon Zebo, Paddy Jackson, Rory Scannell, Andrew Conway, Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy — will make their first starts of the summer trip.

Rhys Ruddock, who captains the side, is joined in the back row by Leavy and Jack Conan. Devin Toner and Quinn Roux team up in the second row, while Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Cian Healy complete the front row.

Scannell’s brother, Rory, will line out at inside centre, with Garry Ringrose in midfield. McGrath makes his first start at scrum-half, and it’s Jackson at half-back.

Rory and Niall Scannell Brothers Rory and Niall Scannell both start. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

There will be an all-Munster back three combination — Zebo at full-back, while his provincial teammates Keith Earls and Andrew Conway are on the wings.

Ulster’s Kieran Treadwell and Leinster’s Rory O’Loughlin are both among the replacements, and in line for a first Ireland cap.

Joe Schmidt Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland (v Japan)

15. Simon Zebo
14. Andrew Conway
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Rory Scannell
11. Keith Earls
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Quinn Roux
5. Devin Toner
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Dan Leavy
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Kieran Treadwell
20. Jack O’Donoghue
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Rory O’Loughlin
23. Tiernan O’Halloran

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Emma Duffy

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