Ireland select strong team to face Tonga

Ireland select strong team to face Tonga

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has once again gone with a strong team to face Tonga in the Rugby World Cup.

There had been talk about Farrell giving some of the fringe players a runout because of the pool-topping clash against South Africa next week, but that is not the case.

Farrell has made four changes to the side that beat Romania in Bordeaux last weekend. Mack Hansen and Conor Murray replace Keith Earls and Jamison Gibson-Park on the wing and at scrum-half respectively.

Ronan Kelleher and Josh van der Flier also replace Rob Herring and Joe McCarthy for the tie in Nantes on Saturday.

Johnny Sexton will not be rested and starts as Ireland's captain and out-half.

Hugo Keenan and James Lowe join Hansen in Ireland's back three. The Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose midfield partnership is kept intact by Farrell.

Up front, Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong join Kelleher in the front row.

Behind them, Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan start as Ireland's two locks.

The side is finally completed by a back-row of Peter O’Mahony, Van der Flier, and Caelan Doris.

Replacements David Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Rob Herring, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Craig Casey, Ross Byrne, and Robbie Henshaw complete the 23.

Ireland's game against Tonga will kick off at 8:00 pm (9:00 pm local time) Saturday night. The game can be watched live on ITV (UK) and RTÉ (ROI).

Ireland team

Fullback 15. Hugo Keenan

Winger 14. Mack Hansen

Centres 13. Gary Ringrose 12.Bundee Aki

Winger 11. James Lowe

Out half 10. Johnny Sexton Scrum half 9. Conor Murray

Front row 1. Andrew Porter 2. Ronan Kelleher 3. Tadhg Furlong

Second row 4. Tadhg Beirne 5. James Ryan

Back row 6. Peter O’Mahony 7. Josh van der Flier 8. Caelan Doris

Replacements: 16. Rob Herring 17. David Kilcoyne 18. Finlay Bealham 19. Iain Henderson  20. Ryan Baird 21. Craig Casey 22. Ross Byrne 23. Robbie Henshaw