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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


Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup



Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.


He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener



Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.

Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.

The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.

Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.

“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”

England Match Day Squad


15. Freddie Steward

14. Max Malins

13. Joe Marchant

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Ollie Hassell-Collins

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Ellis Genge (VC)

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Ollie Chessum

6. Lewis Ludlam

7. Ben Curry

8. Alex Dombrandt


16. Jack Walker

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Dan Cole

19. Nick Isiekwe

20. Ben Earl

21. Ben Youngs

22. Ollie Lawrence

23. Anthony Watson

Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener



Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.

In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.

In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.

In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.

Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.

Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps

Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby

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