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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland Team Named For Romania Match

Ireland Team Named For Romania Match

The Ireland team to face Romania in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool D encounter at Wembley Stadium has been announced.

There are 12 changes in personnel to the Ireland side that beat Canada last weekend, with Jared Payne, Keith Earls and Jamie Heaslip the only players retained.

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Number 8 Heaslip will captain his country for the 11th time, taking over from the benched Paul O’Connell. Chris Henry slots in at openside flanker and Jordi Murphy – one of the four Rugby World Cup debutants in the starting line-up – gets the nod at blindside.

Devin Toner and Donnacha Ryan pair up in the second row, while loosehead Cian Healy returns for his first Test start since March’s Six Nations win over Scotland. He is joined in the front row by World Cup newcomer Richardt Strauss and Nathan White, who is set for his fifth cap.

Leinster duo Ian Madigan and Eoin Reddan come in for their second Test start together at half-back, having previously lined out alongside each other against Georgia last November.

There is another provincial axis in midfield with Ulster’s Darren Cave and Payne filling the centre berths, while Earls is joined in the back-three by Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe, the only survivor from Ireland’s 43-12 victory over Romania back in November 2005.

O’Connell is poised to become Ireland’s most-capped forward if he wins his 106th cap off the bench. Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray and Rob Kearney are the other replacements who were involved in the Canada game, with youngsters Tadhg Furlong and Paddy Jackson standing by to make their World Cup bows this weekend.

Speaking about Robbie Henshaw’s recovery from a hamstring strain and the other knocks suffered by Jonathan Sexton, Peter O’Mahony and Ian Henderson, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: “Robbie, I think, is fit to play. It’s that he missed the early part of the week and therefore I think there’s a couple of them (including Henshaw) that we left out partly (as a) precaution and partly because they hadn’t had the time running with the team.

“Again, those other three guys trained absolutely fully today. They’re fit to play and fit to be selected but today was the first full training that they took part in.”

Asked about his expectations of Sunday’s team and the return of prop Healy, he added: “There’s a realisation from them, particularly after viewing Wednesday evening’s game with Romania playing France, there’s a realisation that it’s an opportunity but also a massive responsibility on them to ensure that we get the result, and that’s going to take a bit of work.

“Cian is always an asset whether he’s in the starting team or off the bench. I think he came off the bench mostly through the Six Nations but the one start he did get against Scotland he got two turnovers on the ground in the first 20 minutes.”

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Romania, 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D, Wembley Stadium, Sunday, September 27, kick-off 4.45pm):

15. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)
14. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
13. Jared Payne (Ulster)
12. Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
9. Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2. Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
3. Nathan White (Connacht)
4. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
6. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
7. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (capt)

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
19. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster)
20. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
21. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
22. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
23. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)