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Andy Farrell has revealed the Ireland lineup set to face England in a World Cup warm-up match this weekend at the Aviva Stadium. Cian Prendergast, selected as the number eight, is presented with a significant opportunity to make an impression.
As both teams continue their preparations for the upcoming tournament in France, this clash will be a crucial test. Eleven players who played a key role in Ireland’s victorious Grand Slam match against England in March have been included in the starting XV for Saturday’s encounter.
James Ryan will lead the team as captain in their final home match before the World Cup, while Keith Earls is on the brink of earning his 100th Test cap for Ireland if he features off the bench.
Earls, who made his debut for Ireland in November 2008 against Canada, is poised to join an elite group of players who have achieved this milestone, including legends like Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, and Paul O’Connell.
The Ireland back three consists of Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, and James Lowe. Midfield will feature Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose, who are set to make their first appearances in the Bank of Ireland Nations Series. Leinster duo Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park have been selected as the half-back pairing, with Byrne starting in place of the suspended Johnny Sexton.
In the forward pack, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, and Tadhg Furlong will anchor the front row. Tadhg Beirne partners with captain James Ryan in the second row. The back row is comprised of Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, and the debutant Cian Prendergast at number eight.
Andy Farrell and the coaching team have a solid lineup on the bench, including Rob Herring, Jeremy Loughman, and Finlay Bealham as front row replacements. Joe McCarthy and Caelan Doris provide additional options for impact, while Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, and the impending centurion Keith Earls complete the Match Day 23.
Ireland’s World Cup journey will begin with a match against Romania, followed by fixtures against Tonga, South Africa, and Scotland in Pool B. Meanwhile, England finds themselves in Pool D alongside Argentina, Japan, Chile, and Samoa.
The Irish team, led by Farrell, is considered the third-favorite to win the tournament, trailing behind the formidable New Zealand and the host nation, France, who have won the title three times previously.