For all the clamour from fans and pundits, Andy Farrell presumably has got November seeding on his mind in balancing experience against development in his squad for Round 2.
Largely it’s as you were for most of the players. Caelan Doris is out with a HIA, and Garry Ringrose is not available until Round 4. So in comes Henshaw in the 13 jersey, and Doris’ Leinster counterpart, Max Deegan, comes onto the backrow slot on the bench. Murray is trusted with the 9 jersey once again, with Cooney backing up. And it’s Keith Earls who gets the 23 jersey to cover the back three – Addison has to wait patiently.
Dave Kilcoyne is picked for the bench again despite going off with a HIA, but he’s on a proviso of having to pass his final HIA protocols on Thurs, if not, he’ll be replaced – presumably by Jack McGrath.
Will Connors, a Leinster academy backrower, has been added to the senior squad with Doris out of action.
Players are talking about a more open atmosphere in training, not living in fear of not knowing their role/details, and that Farrell is fostering a better talking environment for players/coaches to discuss plays, scenarios, tactics.
Even though Ireland is at home, and that counts for something, I only rate their chances at best as 50/50 – still a lot to get their mojo back and conviction in any new systems and plays.
Larmour, Conway, Henshaw, Aki, Stockdale, Sexton, Murray
Healy, Herring, Furlong, Henderson, Ryan, POM, vdF, Stander
Reps: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Porter, Toner, Deegan, Cooney, Byrne, Earls.