Jordan Larmour in line for Ireland debut off the bench
Jordan Larmour in line for Ireland debut off the bench
Josh van der Flier's knee ligament injury has thrust Dan Leavy into prime position for Ireland
08 February, 2018, 18:57
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt made four changes to his pack to face Italy on Saturday, bringing in a mix of youth and experience that includes handing Leinster number eight Jack Conan a Six Nations debut.
Schmidt insisted Stander dropping to the bench centred as much around handing Conan a chance to impress as easing the workload on the Munster talisman.
Despite Italy's 31-point home loss to England last weekend, any experimental selections are confined to the bench with Andrew Porter displacing John Ryan as tighthead cover, with Larmour and Joey Carbery poised to attack the Azzurri when space may be at less of a premium.
Schmidt will name his team at 1.45pm today.
"Some of it is mileage".
"I think CJ Stander had 42 clean outs and 23 carries in the game in Paris".
"By the time we got back from Paris on Sunday evening, you had some fairly sore, exhausted bodies".
Schmidt praised Conan's recent improvements in lineout and defensive work, to add to his already impressive ball-carrying abilities.
"I think in a Test match of that magnitude it only takes one lapse for a team to get back in the game or get in front in a game".
With Sean O'Brien and Rhys Ruddock both unavailable because of injury, Leavy, after coming on for van der Flier last weekend, starts in the back row alongside his Leinster team-mate Conan and Peter O'Mahony.
The Ireland coach also spoke of what it means to his team to have uncapped Leinster youngster Jordan Larmour in reserve and ready to call on.
Joey Carbery makes a welcome return to match-day 23, with Fergus McFadden missing out.
Larmour has lit up the Pro14 and Champions Cup in his breakthrough campaign with Leinster, and Schmidt now believes he is ready for global action.
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