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Best back as Ireland skipper while Kleyn retains spot for England test

Best back as Ireland skipper while Kleyn retains spot for England test
  • Joe Schmidt makes 12 changes to his Ireland team to take on England at Twickenham in their World Cup warm-up match
  • Rory Best returns as skipper, while Jean Kleyn, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose the holdovers from win over Italy
  • Ireland lost to England in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations

Rory Best returns to skipper Ireland for his final game at Twickenham as one of 12 changes made by Joe Schmidt for the clash with Guinness Six Nations rivals England.

Ireland recorded a 29-10 win over Italy a fortnight ago in their first World Cup warm-up match but have chosen an almost entirely different side as they look to leapfrog Wales atop the world rankings.

Any sort of victory in London would see Schmidt’s men go to No.1 and 37-year-old Best will don the armband for his 118th Test appearance as part of an all-changed front row alongside Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

Hooker Best will retire from rugby after the upcoming World Cup in Japan – having made 64 Guinness Six Nations appearances – meaning this is the last time he will run out at Twickenham.

The only forward to survive from the win over the Azzurri is Munster second-rower Jean Kleyn, who will win his second cap and forms an engine-room partnership with Iain Henderson, while Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander make up the back row.

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Outside centre Garry Ringrose and fellow Leinster flyer Jordan Larmour are the two backs retained from a fortnight ago – although Larmour switches from full-back to the wing, making room for Rob Kearney at No.15 as Jacob Stockdale completes the back-three.

Conor Murray and Ross Byrne are the all-new half-back partnership, with lone Connacht representative Bundee Aki the powerhouse outside them.

Ireland lost 32-20 to England at Aviva Stadium in their opening fixture of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations and ten of the starting XV are the same as in that clash, although the Irish will be hoping for a more positive result ahead of a double-header against Wales over the following two weekends.

Ireland team to play England at Twickenham Stadium, Saturday August 24 – 3pm
15. Rob Kearney (Leinster)
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster)
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)
10. Ross Byrne (Leinster)
9. Conor Murray (Munster)

1. Cian Healy (Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Ulster)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster)
5. Jean Kleyn (Munster)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster)
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster)
8. CJ Stander (Munster)

Replacements
16. Sean Cronin (Leinster)
17. Jack McGrath (Leinster)
18. Andrew Porter (Leinster)
19. Devin Toner (Leinster)
20. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)
21. Luke McGrath (Leinster)
22. Jack Carty (Connacht)
23. Andrew Conway (Munster)