Joey Carbery in training this week
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named the match day 23 for their second game of Rugby World Cup 2019 as they take on the host nation Japan at the Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka on Saturday afternoon. (KO: 08.15am Irish Time). Limerick's four men in Japan, Earls, Murray, Cronin and Kilcoyne have all made the 23, with Earls starting his first game of the tournament.
Rory Best captain’s the side and is joined in an unchanged pack in the front row by Cian Healy and Tadgh Furlong. Schmidt has shown his faith in this starting front row who are packing down together as a starting trio for the 15th time.
Best, 37, and Healy, 31, were also part of the front-combination - alongside Mike Ross - who started 31 test matches together for Ireland from 2011 to 2015, a record in the professional era for any country.
Iain Henderson and James Ryan are named at lock with CJ Stander named at No.8, Peter O'Mahony at blindside and Josh van der Flier at openside.
Conor Murray and Jack Carty, who replaces Johnny Sexton, are named at half-back with Chris Farrell and Garry Ringrose partnered in midfield. Rob Kearney is named at fullback with JacobStockdale on the left wing and Keith Earls on the right.
Fly-half Sexton, who was substituted early in the second half against Scotland when struggling to kick at goal, is not risked. With a quarter-final against South Africa highly likely, Ireland are clearly intent on ensuring their first-choice No.10 is fit and available for the knockout stages.
"Johnny is a guy who plays really well fresh," Schmidt said at Thursday’s team announcement. Sexton gives way to his replacement in Yokohama, Jack Carty. The Connacht fly-half will make only his second test start and lines up alongside Conor Murray, who was back to his majestic best against Scotland after a dip in form this year.
Joey Carbery, widely regarded before the tournament as the preferred back-up to Sexton, is likely to make his Rugby World Cup debut after being named on the bench. Carbery has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in Ireland’s first warm-up game against Italy on 10 August and could have a major part to play in the campaign.
"We have left a couple of guys out who trained on Tuesday but not fully," Schmidt said. "We wanted to give Jack Carty as much certainty as possible so we told him on Tuesday that he would be starting.
"We hope it’s going to be a cohesive performance. It’s going to have to be against Japan because we know how good they can be."
The replacements are Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadgh Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour.
The game will be televised by EIR and RTE (ROI) and ITV (NI) and live radio commentary from RTE Radio (ROI) and BBC (NI).
IRELAND team to play Japan, Pool A RWC19, Ecopa Stadium,
Saturday 28thSeptember, 2019
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 92 caps
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 78 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 25 caps
12. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 8 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 22 caps
10. Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 8 caps
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 75 caps
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 92 caps
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 121 caps CAPTAIN
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 37 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 49 caps
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 20 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 60 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 20 caps
8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 34 caps
16. Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 70 caps
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 32 caps
18. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 19 caps
19. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 9 caps
20. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster) 23 caps
21. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 15 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 19 caps
23. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 17 caps