Healy back from injury as Schmidt names strong team for final World Cup warm-up

Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls all start for Ireland against Wales at the Aviva Stadium.

JOHNNY SEXTON, ROBBIE Henshaw and Keith Earls will make their first appearances of World Cup season when Ireland meet Wales on Saturday [KO 2pm, RTÉ 2/Channel 4] in their final warm-up Test before the tournament in Japan.

Sexton returns to the number 10 shirt and will be partnered at half-back by Conor Murray, returning after a blow to his head/neck area during the first half of the loss to England at Twickenham.

cian-healy Healy is back from an ankle injury. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Henshaw is partnered with former Connacht team-mate Bundee Aki in the centre for the clash against the Grand Slam winners, while Earls returns to Joe Schmidt’s starting XV after being held back due to a knee issue.

The Munster winger joins Rob Kearney and Jordan Larmour in the back three, with Jacob Stockdale — expected to be involved — not in the matchday 23.

In the pack, Jean Kleyn is named in the second row for his third cap, with James Ryan set to call the lineout on the tighthead side.

Cian Healy has rebounded strongly from the ankle injury he sustained at Twickenham a fortnight ago and is picked at loosehead, while CJ Stander is named on the blindside of the back row with Jack Conan at number eight and Josh van der Flier at openside.

On the bench, Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne and Andrew Porter will be hoping to make a big impact, while Iain Henderson provides the second row cover, with Rhys Ruddock in the number 20 jersey.

Luke McGrath is set to feature in his fourth game of the pre-season period as Murray’s deputy, while Jack Carty is in line for further game time off the bench with Joey Carbery still sidelined.

After filling in on the wing last weekend, Garry Ringrose is again the utility replacement back. 


15. Rob Kearney
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

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1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. James Ryan
5. Jean Kleyn
6. CJ Stander
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan.


16. Sean Cronin
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Iain Henderson
20. Rhys Ruddock
21. Luke McGrath
22. Jack Carty
23. Garry Ringrose.

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Ryan Bailey

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