Ireland vs Wales team news: Johnny Sexton starts at fly-half in final Rugby World Cup warm-up game

Match will be coach Joe Schmidt’s and captain Rory Best’s home international farewells

Harry Latham-Coyle
Thursday 05 September 2019 14:35
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Brian O'Driscoll tips England to win the Rugby World Cup

Johnny Sexton has been selected at fly-half for Ireland‘s final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Wales in Dublin.

The 34-year-old has not played for Ireland since the Six Nations with Joe Schmidt keen to preserve his key playmaker ahead of the World Cup.

Saturday’s game will be a home farewell for Schmidt, who is retiring from coaching after the World Cup, and captain Rory Best, who wins his 120th cap and has also announced his intention to retire after the tournament.

Ireland’s win in Cardiff has restored some degree of confidence after being so comprehensively blown away by England, and Schmidt has opted for an extremely strong squad as his side tune-up for the final time before heading for Japan.

Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong join Best in a first-choice front row.

Jean Kleyn – controversially preferred to veteran Devin Toner in Ireland’s World Cup squad – joins James Ryan in the second row.

CJ Stander comes in on the blindside with Jack Conan retaining his place at number eight.

Ireland will give their key half-backs a start in tandem, with Conor Murray partnering Sexton.

Bundee Aki starts at 12 with Robbie Henshaw into the lineup at outside centre.

And the entire back three from a week ago drops out, with Jordan Larmour getting another opportunity to find his footing on the right wing.

Ireland team to face Wales

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 91 caps

14. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 15 caps

13. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 37 caps

12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 19 caps

11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 77 caps

10. Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 83 caps

9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 73 caps

1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 90 caps

2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 119 caps CAPTAIN

3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 35 caps

4. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 18 caps

5. Jean Kleyn (Munster) 2 caps

6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 32 caps

7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 18 caps

8. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 15 caps

Replacements

16. Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 69 caps

17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 30 caps

18. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 17 caps

19. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 47 caps

20. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 22

21. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 13 caps

22. Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 6 caps

23. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps

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