Andy Farrell has challenged Ireland’s new faces to show they are worthy of regular international recognition as his side prepare to take on USA this weekend.
Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney, James Hume and Robert Baloucoune are all set to make their senior Ireland debuts in Saturday’s 7.15pm kick-off as part of an inexperienced XV captained by Leinster lock James Ryan.
Another quartet – Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade and Harry Byrne – could make their debuts from the bench and Farrell wants to see the young guns seize their opportunities in the final match of Ireland’s summer series.
“There’s quite a few lads there that get their first start,” he said.
“Joey (Carbery) gets to go out there and control the game again from 10 and James (Ryan) gets to captain the side again, which is great for his experience down the track as well.
“We’re unbelievably happy with the depth. It’s the competition now, isn’t it?
“It’s the people going home after this window and really having a good think after the summer, whether they consistently want to be in the room and not just be a one-capper or five-capper.
“Can they have the hunger now and the consistency and the know-how to get themselves to 30 caps? That’s the type of attitude that we want.
“Can they pull out their point of difference on the field, which they’re all there to express themselves in?
“But at the same time can they be a team-first player and can they perform under pressure? Because I’m sure that there’ll be a few nerves.
“Concentrating on their detail, concentrating on how we want to function as a team has got to be a priority.”
📋 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 🟢
Head Coach Andy Farrell has named his Ireland Match Day Squad for Saturday’s #VodafoneSummerSeries game against @USARugby at @avivastadium, with eight uncapped players included in the 23 🙌#ShoulderToShoulder #IREvUSA pic.twitter.com/ZLSOh5WZsB
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 8, 2021
Farrell has kept faith with Carbery at fly-half following the Munster star’s impressive international comeback in last weekend’s 39-31 win over Japan.
The 25-year-old scored 14 points in his first Ireland appearance since the 2019 World Cup and will now look to replicate that impact against opponents he has a good record against, having played in victories over the USA in 2017 and 2018.
“Joey’s obviously been through a lot but he coped fantastically well last week,” Farrell said.
“I’m sure that the nerves are well settled after knowing that he can perform, in what was a very difficult game, a tough game against a really well-drilled side in Japan.
“I’m sure that he’s really looking forward to this weekend.”
USA go into the game at the Aviva Stadium looking to build on an encouraging performance at Twickenham last weekend, which saw Gary Gold’s side cross four times against England in a 43-29 defeat.
Ireland: 15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster) (12 caps), 14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster) (uncapped), 13. James Hume (Ulster) (uncapped), 12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) (5 caps), 11. Andrew Conway (Munster) (24 caps), 10. Joey Carbery (Munster) (23 caps), 9. Craig Casey (Munster) (2 caps), 1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster) (44 caps), 2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster) (12 caps), 3. Tom O’Toole (Ulster) (uncapped), 4. Ryan Baird (Leinster) (4 caps), 5. James Ryan (Leinster) (36 caps – captain), 6. Caelan Doris (Leinster) (8 caps), 7. Nick Timoney (Ulster) (uncapped), 8. Gavin Coombes (Munster) (1 cap)
Replacements: 16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht) (5 caps) 17. Ed Byrne (Leinster) (5 caps), 18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht) (15 caps), 19. Fineen Wycherley (Munster) (uncapped), 20. Paul Boyle (Connacht) (uncapped), 21. Caolin Blade (Connacht) (uncapped), 22. Harry Byrne (Leinster) (uncapped), 23. Will Addison (Ulster) (4 caps)
USA: 15. Mike Te’o; 14. Christian Dyer; 13. Calvin Whiting; 12. Bryce Campbell, 11. Mika Kruse; 10. Luke Carty, 9. Ruben de Haas; 1. David Ainu’u, 2. Joe Taufete’e, 3. Paul Mullen, 4. Gregory Peterson, 5. Nick Civetta. 6. Hanco Germishuys, 7. Riekert Hattingh, 8. Cam Dolan
Replacements: 16. Kapeli Pifeleti, 17. Matt Harmon, 18. Dino Waldren, 19. Nate Brakeley, 20. Psalm Wooching, 21. Andrew Guerra, 22. Michael Baska, 23. Will Magie