Earls starts as Andy Farrell names Ireland team for Samoa warm-up

Earls starts as Andy Farrell names Ireland team for Samoa warm-up

Andy Farrell has named his Ireland team to face Samoa this weekend.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named his team to take on Samoa in Bayonne this Saturday (7.45pm Irish time).

Iain Henderson captains the experimental side from second row, while in other headline news, centurion Keith Earls starts on the left-wing and the more inexperienced Jack Crowley get his chance at flyhalf.

Earls scored off the bench on his 100th Ireland appearance last weekend and could well find himself on his way to a fourth World Cup with a decent showing against the Pacific Islanders – potentially at the expense of Jacob Stockdale or Stuart McCloskey.

Ireland opportunities against Samoa.

Crowley meanwhile, will be keen to nudge ahead of Ross Byrne in Farrell’s pecking order having starred for Munster in their URC triumph before impressing against Italy in the first of Ireland’s three World Cup warm-ups.

Leinster man Byrne started last weekend against England but, although steady, he perhaps needed to do more to prove himself an able deputy for the currently suspended Johnny Sexton on the international stage.

The rest of the backline is made up of Conor Murray, Stuart McCloskey, Robbie Henshaw and Jimmy O’Brien, while surrounding Henderson in the pack are Cian Healy, Tom Stewart, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Berine, Ryan Baird, Josh Van Der Flier and Caelan Doris.


Frontline players James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony and Garry Ringrose are all on the bench and, though they may feature in the second half, Farrell will be praying none of his senior pros pick up injuries so close to the tournament.

The same could be said about Ulster hookers Tom Stewart and Rob Herring. With Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher currently battling with their own injury troubles, the last thing the Ireland coaching staff need is another problem in the hooking department.

Ireland’s World Cup campaign kicks off in just two weeks time when they meet Romania in Bordeaux.

Ireland: Healy, Stewart, Bealham; Henderson (c), Beirne; Baird, Van Der Flier, Doris; Murray, Crowley; Earls, McCloskey, Henshaw, Hansen; O’Brien

Replacements: Herring, Loughman, O’Toole; Ryan, O’Mahony; Casey, Byrne, Ringrose