World Cup warm-up match: Ireland v Italy
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 10 August Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, o coverage on BBC 5 Live Sport Extra

Ireland head coach has named an experimental line-up for his side’s first World Cup warm-up match against Italy.

Jean Kleyn will make his international debut while Dave Kearney returns to the fold two years after his last cap.

Rhys Ruddock captains the side from the back row, where he is joined by Jordi Murphy and Tommy O’Donnell.

Schmidt will cut 12 players from his 43-man squad before the tournament in Japan.

Former Leinster team-mates Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery form the half-back line with Chris Farrell partnering Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Mike Haley could join Kleyn in making his debut having been named on the bench.

Opportunity knocks as squad gets thinner

Schmidt already began the squad trimming process earlier this week, sending Ultan Dillane and Rory Scannell back to their provinces.

The squad for the Italy Test in Dublin consists largely of players who are deemed to be on the fringes of Schmidt’s strongest available side.

The inclusion of Devin Toner and Garry Ringrose, both of whom can be fairly confident of a seat on the plane to Japan, suggests Schmidt is using the games to test out various partnerships both in the pack and in the backs.

Saturday’s game offers many of the players a crucial chance to impress, with senior figures likely to return to the side for trips to Twickenham and the Principality Stadium in the coming weeks.

Scrum-half McGrath is likely in consideration for the third and final scrum-half berth in the 31-man squad, while trio , Rob Herring and Andrew Porter are all out to prove that they are the best cover for Schmidt’s established first choice front row Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best and Cian Healy.

South Africa-born Kleyn, who only qualified to play for Ireland this month having joined Munster in August 2016, is another whose chances of making the final 31 rest largely on his showing on Saturday.

McKinley on bench as Italy seek momentum

Dublin-born fly-half Ian McKinley is named among the Italian replacements as highly-rated inside centre Marco Zanon earns his second start.

Conor O’Shea’s side will face a difficult task in Japan having been drawn in Pool B alongside South Africa and world champions New Zealand.

Italy ran Ireland close when the sides last met in February, with Ireland running out as unconvincing 26-16 winners.

Ireland: J McGrath, R Herring, A Porter, D Toner, J Kleyn; R Ruddock (c), T O’Donnell, J Murphy; L McGrath, J Carbery, D Kearney, C Farrell, G Ringrose, A Conway, J Larmour.

Subs: N Scannell, C Healy, John Ryan, I Henderson, T Beirne, K Marmion, J Carty, M Haley.

Italy: Quaglio, Fabiani, Riccioni, Zanni, Budd (c); Licata, Mbanda, Tuivaiti; Palazzani, Canna; Besigni, Zanon, Benvenuti, Esposito, Padovani.

Subs: Zani, Lovotti, , Lazzardni, Giammarioli, Bradley, McKinley, Minozzi.


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