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15 Changes Joe Schmidt Could Make Against Canada Illustrating The Depth Of Talent Now At His Disposal

Ireland are likely to rest many of their star names after beating the All Blacks.  

While Ireland celebrated their historic victory over New Zealand last weekend, Steve Hansen and his players were no doubt planning their revenge in Dublin on Saturday week.

Although the Italians may take some of the edge off the expected All Black backlash, Hansen’s side will arrive into the Aviva Stadium with a plan to negate Ireland’s maul, and more importantly a second row combination that does not include Jerome Kaino.

Therefore, while Ireland’s focus will be on preparing for Canada this weekend, they will also have one eye on events in Rome, where New Zealand’s selection and tactics will be watched with interest.

However, although Hansen will be wanting his side to make a statement, Joe Schmidt has the luxury of being able to rest some of his key players before the highly anticipated re-match in Dublin.

Not only does it give Schmidt the chance to offer his players with some well deserved down time, but also showcase the depth of talent now at his disposal. In the backrow for example, the Irish coach is likely to select Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony, two world class players in their own right.

Their omission for the game in Chicago raised eyebrows, but both players now face a struggle to dislodge Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander in Ireland’s backrow.

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After years worrying over the lack of depth behind Mike Ross, it’s likely Finlay Bealam will be handed the number three jersey with the in-form John Ryan on the bench. Cian Healy, a 2013 British and Irish Lion don’t forget, should start at loosehead, with Sean Cronin coming in at hooker.

Billy Holland could potentially partner Ultan Dillane in the second row, and there even exists the possibility of Iain Henderson making his comeback on Saturday. Dan Leavy’s inclusion in the Irish squad could see the 22 year-old feature as a flanker with either O’Brien or O’Mahony starting at number eight.

Alternatively, Schmidt could chose to hand Jack O’Donoghue a start at number eight, leaving O’Brien and O’Mahony either side of the youngster.

Despite Joey Carbery’s impressive debut, Paddy Jackson’s case for inclusion is greater and he requires game time in green in case Ireland will need to call on him later in the November series. Kieran Marmion is the leading candidate to start at scrumhalf, allowing Conor Murray time to rest after enjoying what was arguably his best ever game with either Ireland or Munster.

It is at centre where Schmidt faces his biggest selection headache, with Stuart Olding, Luke Marshall and Gary Ringrose all available. Just to further accentuate the amount of depth at Schmidt’s disposal, the Irish coach has the luxury of leaving Rory Scannell and Stuart McCloskey out.

Finally, every Irish fan would be excited at the prospect of watching a back three made up of Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun and Darren Sweetnam take to the field against Canada. If Schmidt feels the need to add experience, he can call upon Keith Earls and Craig Gilroy, while simultaneously leaving Tommy Bowe out of the equation altogether.

Irish rugby has never enjoyed such luxury in the past.


[tie_slide]1. Cian Healy

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 09: Ireland player Cian Healy in action during Ireland training ahead of their final group match against France, at Newport High school on October 9, 2015 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


[tie_slide]2. Sean Cronin

2016 Castle Lager Incoming Series: Ireland Training Session


[tie_slide]3. Finlay Bealham



[tie_slide]4. Ultan Dillane

Guinness Series, Soldier Field, Chicago, USA 5/11/2016 Ireland vs New Zealand Ireland’s Ultan Dillane Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland


[tie_slide]5. Billy Holland

European Rugby Champions Cup Round 2, Thomond Park, Limerick 22/10/2016 Munster vs Glasgow Warriors Munster's Billy Holland and Rory Hughes of Glasgow Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne


[tie_slide]6. Peter O’Mahony

France v Ireland - Group D: Rugby World Cup 2015


[tie_slide]7. Dan Leavy

Irish Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare 8/11/2016 Dan Leavy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer


[tie_slide]8. Sean O’Brien

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 19: Sean O'Brien of Ireland takes on Matt Evans of Canada during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Ireland and Canada at the Millennium Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


[tie_slide]9. Kieran Marmion

Ireland v Italy - RBS Six Nations


[tie_slide]10. Paddy Jackson

South Africa v Ireland - Castle Lager Incoming Series 3rd Test


[tie_slide]11. Niyi Adeolokun

Pre-Season Friendly, Saint-Affrique, Aveyron, France 11/8/2016 Montpellier vs Connacht Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun makes a break Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne


[tie_slide]12. Luke Marshall

Ireland Rugby Tour South Africa 2016 3rd Test Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth 25/6/2016 South Africa Springboks vs Ireland IrelandÕs Luke Marshall Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland


[tie_slide]13. Gary Ringrose



[tie_slide]14. Darren Sweetnam

Guinness PRO12, The Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland 8/10/2016 Leinster vs Munster Munster’s Darren Sweetnam is tackled by Leinster’s Garry Ringrose Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland


[tie_slide]15. Tiernan O’Halloran

Tiernan O'Halloran after scoring a try 17/9/2016



Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

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