In what is a busy week for the Ireland squad, two Irish teams will play games in the space of three days. An Ireland Select XV will take on Connacht on Thursday evening in Donnybrook Stadium followed by Ireland playing France in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
In the Connacht game, several players who were involved in the test match against France last week get another chance to play in Donnybrook tomorrow evening.
Leo Cullen will captain the side and will be partnered in the second row by Mick O’Driscoll, with Tony Buckley, Sean Cronin, John Hayes completing the front five. Shane Jennings will have his first outing of August after returning from a broken arm alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Denis Leamy in the back row.
Isaac Boss and Paddy Wallace will make up the half back partnership with Fergus McFadden, Johne Murphy and Geordan Murphy in the back three.
Eric Elwood’s Connacht side sees just 3 changes from the starting XV that took on the Exeter Chiefs in Dubarry Park last weekend with Adrian Flavin starting at hooker, Mick Kearney replacing the injured Dave Nolan and John Muldoon returning to captain the side from blindside flanker. The backline remains unchanged with O’Donohoe and O’Connor completing the halfbacks. Fa’afili and Griffin renew their centre partnership with Brian Tuohy, Mark McCrea and Tiernan O’Halloran completing the backline.
Elwood said: “This will a be a huge test for us, we’re up against a strong Ireland Select side with players vying for World Cup places so it’s a great opportunity for our players to test themselves at this level. From our perspective we’re looking for an 80 minute performance and improvements in key areas from last weekend’s game against Exeter “
Geordan Murphy; Johne Murphy, Darren Cave, Ian Keatley, Fergus McFadden; Paddy Wallace, Isaac Boss; Tony Buckley, Sean Cronin, John Hayes, Mick O’Driscoll, Leo Cullen (captain), Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Denis Leamy
Damien Varley, Marcus Horan, Donnacha Ryan, Niall Ronan, Conor Murray, Denis Hurley, Ian Whitten
Tiernan O’Halloran; Mark McCrea, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa’afili, Brian Tuohy; Niall O’Connor, Paul O’Donohue; Dylan Rogers, Adrian Flavin, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Mick Kearney, John Muldoon (captain), Ray Ofisa, George Naoupu
Ethienne Reynecke, Denis Buckle, Johnny O’Connor, TJ Anderson, Dave Moore, Matthew Jarvis, James Loxton