IRELAND’S INTERIM HEAD COACH Les Kiss has handed Munster’s James Downey a long-awaited debut against Canada this weekend.
The Australian has named the inside centre in the Irish midfield with Darren Cave of Ulster. Fergus McFadden and Andrew Trimble have been given wing berths with Felix Jones afforded a start at fullback.
The Leinster duo of Ian Madigan, who kicked all 15 points in Ireland’s 15-12 win over the US Eagles last week, and Isaac Boss has been retained. There is no place for Connacht’s Kieran Marmion on the bench as scrumhalf Paul Marshall gets the nod.
Up front Tom Court joins the front row while Dan Tuohy forms a new second row pairing with Devin Toner. Tommy O’Donnell starts for Ireland having won his first cap last weekend with Kevin McLaughlin and Captain Peter O’Mahony completing the back row.
Mike McCarthy, Dave Kilcoyne, Robbie Henshaw and Chris Henry all move to the bench after starts last week.
Kiss, upon announcing the team, said he expected an abrasive challenge from Canada, who are ranked 13 in the world at present, just four back from Ireland. He said, “We are anticipating a tough game against a very good Canada side that have put together a run of three wins in the Pacific Nations Cup. The experience gained on this tour is invaluable and I have no doubt that the players will respond well in what will be another challenging test.”
Ireland: F Jones; F McFadden, D Cave, J Downey, A Trimble; I Madigan, I Boss; T Court, R Strauss, M Ross; D Tuohy, D Toner; K McLaughlin, T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony (c).
Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, D Fitzpatrick, M McCarthy, C Henry, P Marshall, P Jackson, R Henshaw.