PAUL O’Connell will win his 103rd cap when he skippers Ireland for the final time on home soil in Saturday’s crunch World Cup warm-up game with Wales at the Aviva Stadium, 2.30pm.
Thirty five-year-old O’Connell will partner Iain Henderson in Ireland’s second row as Joe Schmidt’s side look to complete a home and away double over Wales in World Cup warm-up games this month.
The Ireland side to face Warren Gatland’s side also includes Keith Earls on the left wing. Earls, who will win his 41st cap on Saturday, will be looking to tie down his World Cup selection with another big performance.
Earls’ Munster team mates, scrum-half Conor Murray, and flanker Peter O’Mahony, have also been selected to start Ireland’s penultimate World Cup warm-up game. Dave Kilcoyne, Donnacha Ryan and Felix Jones are listed among the replacements along with Leinster’s Limerick-born duo of Sean Cronin and Eoin Reddan.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is due to announce the 31-man squad that will travel to the World Cup on Monday, but the players will be told Sunday.
IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Nathan White, Paul O’Connell, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Sean O’Brien, Eoin Reddan, Paddy Jackson, Felix Jones.
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau. Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Paul James, Aaron Jarvis, Luke Charteris, James King, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Hallam Amos.