Earls starts with Murray and Crowley partnered in final RWC warm up match

There is an all Munster half-back pairing as Crowley and Murray start at out-half and scrum-half respectively.

Head Coach Andy Farrell has named his Ireland Match Day Squad to face Samoa in Saturday’s final Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture at Stade Jean-Dauger in Bayonne (Kick-off 8.45pm local time/7.45pm Irish time).

There are seven Munster men in the squad with newest centurion Keith Earls named to start. There is a provincial pairing with Conor Murray partnering Jack Crowley while Tadhg Beirne is named in the second row.

Jeremy Loughman, Peter O’Mahony and Craig Casey are amongst the replacements.

19 August 2023; Keith Earls of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side’s fifth try during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Iain Henderson returns to the second row to captain Ireland on Saturday night, having done so against Italy in Dublin at the start of the month.

Jimmy O’Brien, Mack Hansen and Earls, fresh from winning his 100th Test cap last weekend, start in the back three, with Robbie Henshaw and Stuart McCloskey in midfield. There is an all Munster half-back pairing as Crowley and Murray start at out-half and scrum-half respectively.

In the pack, Cian Healy and Finlay Bealham are selected either side of Tom Stewart, who is set for his first Ireland start having made his debut off the bench against Italy. Henderson partners Beirne in the engine room, with Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris completing the starting XV.

There is a wealth of experience at Farrell’s disposal among the replacements, with Rob Herring, Jeremy Loughman and Tom O’Toole providing the front row reinforcements. James Ryan and Peter O’Mahony offer cover in the second and back row, while Craig CaseyRoss Byrne and Garry Ringrose are the backline options.

Saturday’s match is live on RTÉ2 (ROI) and Amazon Prime (UK and NI).

Following Bank of Ireland Nations Series wins over Italy and England at Aviva Stadium, the Ireland squad have spent this week in Bayonne to finalise their preparations for Rugby World Cup, with a little over two weeks to go until their tournament opener against Romania in Bordeaux.

Ireland (v Samoa):


15. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas)(6)
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians)(15)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers)(64)
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor)(13)
11. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster)(100)
10. Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)(5)
9. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen)(106)

1. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf)(124)
2. Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)(1)
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers)(31)
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy)(captain)(73)
5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne)(40)
6. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University)(12)
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD)(51)
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College)(30)


16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch)(36)
17. Jeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen)(2)
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch)(10)
19. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD)(54)
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution)(95)
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon)(11)
22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD)(20)
23. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD)(51).

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