The Ireland XV Andy Farrell should pick to take on England


With key players such as Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw ruled out, Andy Farrell does not have a straightforward task in choosing his side for the test with England.

Andy Farrell has announced James Ryan as captain for Saturday’s game but the rest of the squad remains unknown.

We believe the team below has the greatest chance of getting one over on the English at Twickenham.

Front Row

Cian Healy, Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter

The front-row was dominant in the first half in the scrum against the Welsh and deserves to remain the same for this weekend’s game.

Andrew Porter was particularly impressive against Wales, making mince meat of young Rhys Carre before he was replaced by Wyn Jones late in the first half.

While the English props should pose a greater challenge, the all-Leinster front row should be up to the task.

Second row

James Ryan and Iain Henderson (if available)

Ryan is locked on after being named captain for the encounter with Eddie Jones’ men but there is plenty of competition for that second position in the second row.

Quinn Roux and Tadhg Beirne both impressed in their recent starts for Ireland but the Ulster captain’s leadership skills and experience could prove to be crucial.

Back row

CJ Stander, Will Connors and Caelan Doris

Probably Ireland’s most competitive area, with plenty of players with loads of experience at international level.

However, relative newcomers Doris and Connors have earned the right to start after impressing in green in recent weeks.

Peter O’Mahony played well against the Welsh and caused mayhem during the opposition’s line-outs but Connors’ excellent chop tackling sees him edge the Munster man out.


Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne

They may only have 11 caps between them, but with Johnny Sexton out injured, experience was always going to be an issue here.

Billy Burns did well in his first international appearance last weekend but Byrne has done enough to start for Ireland in what will be his third game against England.

While Conor Murray would bring a deft of experience to the number 9 shirt, Gibson-Park’s quick ball from the ruck and familiarity with Byrne should earn him a start.


Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell

With Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw both unavailable, Farrell has not been left with many options at 12 and 13.

Thankfully, Aki and Chris Farrell have both proven themselves to be more than capable at an international level and pose a major physical threat to the English defence.

While Stuart McCloskey has been in fine form for Ulster lately, Aki and Farrell have a bit more variety to offer in attack.

Back Three

James Lowe, Andrew Conway and Hugo Keenan

While Jacob Stockdale may be fit in time for the Twickenham showdown, these three performed well for Farrell against Wales and deserve to start again.

Keenan showed he is well able for the pressure of being an international full back after previously impressing on the wing.

Lowe proved to be a constant threat in his international debut and will be champing at the bit for another opportunity.


Rob Herring, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Billy Burns and Keith Earls

Things may well go badly early on for the Irish on Saturday and an experienced list of replacements could be needed to steady the ship.

Should things go against Farrell, the Munster trio of O’Mahony, Murray and Earls will provide cool heads to a team with a number of inexperienced players.

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