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Ireland vs Italy; Big Chance to Impress

Ireland and Italy have announced their line-ups for this weekend’s World Cup warm-up game and there is a huge opportunity to impress for many players



(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland take on Italy in the first of their World Cup warm-up game at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday at 14 00, and both head coaches have given players a chance to impress.

With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner both coaches have provided players with an opportunity to earn a place on the plane to Japan.

The hosts start with an impressive front-row of Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter, however, all are fighting for their place in the team and will want to put in a big performance.

Just behind them is the towering presence of Devin Toner, who gets in some much-needed game-time after missing the end of last season through injury. He is joined in the second-row by debutant Jean Kleyn, who will hope to lay down a marker.

Leinster star Rhys Ruddock captains the side from blind-side flanker, while Tommy O’Donnell is on the open-side and Ulster’s Jordie Murphy completes the pack from No 8.

Luke McGrath partners Joey Carbery in the half-backs, with both facing strong competition for a place in Japan, while Chris Farrell and Garry Ringrose open in the centre.

Dave Kearney begins the game on the left-wing, with Andrew Conway on the right and Jordan Larmour at full-back.

There is experience on the bench with the likes of Cian Healy and Iain Henderson ready to make an impact, while there could also be another debut for a Munster player if Mike Haley makes a cameo.

On the other side, Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has handed a host of youngster’s opportunities to push for a place in his squad while mixing experience throughout the squad.

Nicola Quaglio, Oliviero Fabiani and Marco Riccioni are named as the front-three, with experienced duo Alessandro Zanni and captain Dean Budd slotting into the engine room.

Giovanni Licata, Maxime Mbanda and Jimmy Tuivaiti are at six, seven and eight respectively, while Guglielmo Palazzani and Carlo Canna link-up at scrum-half and out-half.

21-year-old Benetton centre Marco Zanon joins Tommaso Benvenuti in an exciting midfield, with Giulio Bisegni and Angelo Esposito on the wings and Edoardo Padovani finishing the starting XV at full-back.

O’Shea has decided to rest star-man Sergio Parisse for this weekend’s clash as his side face Russia, France and England in upcoming weeks.

Ireland will be hoping to lay down a marker this weekend following their poor Six Nations campaign earlier in the year and with clashes against England and a double header with Wales to come before they jet off to Japan.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squads Below.


15. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 13 caps

14. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 12 caps caps

13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 20 caps

12. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 5 caps

11. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 17

10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 18 caps

9. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 10 caps

1. Jack McGrath (St Marys College/Leinster) 54 caps

2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 7 caps

3. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 14 caps

4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 64 caps

5. Jean Kleyn (Munster) 0 caps

6. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps Captain

7. Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps

8. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Ulster) 27 caps


16. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 14 caps

17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 88 caps

18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 18 caps

19. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 44 caps

20. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 5 caps

21. Kieran Marmion (Galwegians/Connacht) 25 caps

22. Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3 caps

23. Mike Haley (Munster) 0 caps


15. Edoardo Padovani

14. Angelo Esposito

13. Tommaso Benvenuti

12. Marco Zanon

11. Guilio Bisegni

10. Carlo Canna

9. Guglielmo Palazzani

1. Nicola Quaglio

2. Oliviero Fabiani

3. Marco Riccioni

4. Alessandro Zanni

5. Dean Budd (c)

6. Giovanni Licata

7. Maxime Mbanda

8. Jimmy Tuivaiti


16. Federico Zani

17. Andrea Lovotti

18. Simone Ferrari

19. Marco Lazzzaroni

20. Renato Giammarioli

21. Callum Braley

22. Ian Mckinley

23. Matteo Minozzi


Huge Suspension Handed to Tongan Star

One of Tonga’s main men has been handed a big suspension as he heads back to play club rugby following the team’s elimination from the World Cup



(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Tongan hooker has been handed a heavy ban after admitting to foul play during the side’s final Rugby World Cup game against the USA on Sunday.

Ngauamo admitted that he kicked an opposition player in the face contrary to Law 9.12 (kicking) during the Sunday’s 31-19 win. 

An independent Judicial Committee in Tokyo sat on Tuesday and after taking into account the situation at hand in which the Tongan player clearly kicked an opponent in the face they decided it would warrant at least a mid-range offence. 

Under World Rugby’s mandatory sanctions a mid-range entry point results in a minimum eight-week suspension, which was handed down to Ngauamo. 

However, after taking into account the player’s admission to the offence at an early stage in proceedings as well as his good disciplinary record up to the offence they chose to take a week off the ban meaning he will serve a seven-week suspension. 

The player is returning to his home country today before jetting back to France where he will return to Top 14 club Agen, but will now be out of selection for seven-weeks meaning he will not feature until around December in what is a huge blow for him and the club.

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Scottish Ace Considering International Future

Following Scotland’s departure from the Rugby World Cup it now looks like one of their key men may have finally had enough



(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scotland star Greig Laidlaw has admitted that he will consider his international future following his side’s exit from the Rugby World Cup.

The Scots were knocked out yesterday following a 28-21 loss to hosts Japan, which coupled with their opening round 27-3 loss to Ireland to leave them with two wins and two losses in the group as they finished third. 

It seems as though this set back could have been enough to push Laidlaw out the door as Scotland continue to falter on the biggest stages. 

“I’ll go away and have a think. Tonight it’s about staying together as a group. Tonight is not about me. I’ll go away and talk to the people I need to talk to and make my decision from there,” he said after the game. 

Having been capped 76 times for his country the 34-year-old is one of their longest serving players and is a regular starter along with being their main place-kicker so his departure would leave a huge void in the team. 

He also admitted that Japan were the better team on the day, applauding their improvement since the last World Cup and saying they were fully deserving of their victory. 

“We knew Japan have really improved as a team since four years ago. We have to give them credit for the way they have progressed and the way we have performed this evening. We gave away two soft tries and we left ourselves with a mountain to climb. They didn’t catch us off guard, we actually started the game pretty well. We got into a lead, we never switched off, but we let Japan into the game,” he added. 

Before the match was even played Japan were ranked higher than their opponents showing how far they have developed and how far Scotland are falling. 

However, following this latest set back and pending on Laidlaw’s decision things could get worse before they start to get better as he could open the flood gates with regards to player departures from the international stage as they seem pretty fed up.

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SA Rugby Issue Statement on Etzebeth

South African Rugby Union have issued a statement regarding star man Eben Etzebeth’s current situation



(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

South African Rugby Union have issued a statement with regard to forward Eben Etzebeth after reports yesterday claimed that the South African Human Rights Commission plan to take legal action against him.

Etzebeth is at the centre of an allegation claiming that he was involved of in a racist incident as well as it having physical repercussions. The incident is said to have taken place the day before the Springboks Rugby World Cup squad was announced. 

However, the towering second-row has already denied all allegations having been interviewed by the Human Rights Commission before the squad left for Japan. 

Following reports yesterday the Springboks have confirmed in a statement that the Human Rights Commission will proceed with legal action. 

“The South African Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday that it would institute legal proceedings against Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court, relating to allegations of an incident in Langebaan in August,” the statement read. 

As well as the statement a Springbok spokesperson has confirmed that they will continue to help with the case as much as possible as they look to come to a conclusion sooner rather than later. 

“SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities. We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised. Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player,” he said. 

Etzebeth will hope that the case will not require him to return to South Africa before the conclusion of the World Cup in Japan as he is a vital part of the Springboks team that hope to win the whole tournament. 

However, whatever happens his sights will be firmly set on Friday’s clash with Italy, where he has been named among the starting line-up in what could decide who finished second in Pool B and progress to the last eight.

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