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Ireland trying out backup 10s vs England for RWC role

August 22, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Ross Byrne and Jack Carty have been urged to make cases as the backup flyhalf for Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad in the warmup game against England on Saturday at Twickenham.

Regular starter Jonathan Sexton is recovering from a thumb strain and regular backup Joey Carbery is at risk of missing the World Cup after damaging ankle ligaments in their first warmup game on Aug. 10 against Italy. Carbery was assured until he was injured in the second half of the 29-10 win.

Byrne has only two caps, both in November 2018 from the reserves, and Carty four, all this year as a replacement, too. They need more experience, and coach Joe Schmidt needs to see how they go.

“He built his way through the season,” Schmidt said of Byrne on Thursday. “I thought he was maybe not as impressive as Jack early in the season.

“Ross’ ability to control the game, it’s one of the things that was defining between Joey and him at Leinster, probably in that Ross ran the game and Joey ran really well individually. But it’s also something that comes with a rhythm and game time.

“Jack, whenever he came off the bench for us in the Six Nations, I thought he did a super job.

“We have a lot of confidence in Jack being able to control the game and we do think he can bring a bit of a change up off the bench. Either way, they’ll both get a bit of game time on Saturday to demonstrate what they can bring.”

Ireland has made 12 changes and a positional switch.

England has picked flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill to start together for the first time, and giving inside backs George Ford and Owen Farrell starts together for the first time in 14 months.

“We played a quite tight game against Wales,” coach Eddie Jones said of the 13-6 loss in Cardiff last weekend. “So we feel like this game we probably need to pass a bit more, and with George at 10 and Owen at 12 we think we can do that.”

Also appearing for the first time in the warmups are wing Jonny May, and reserve prop Mako Vunipola.

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Lineups:

England: Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Piers Francis, Jonathan Joseph.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Ross Byrne, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, Jean Kleyn, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Cian Healy. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Tadhg Beirne, Luke McGrath, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway.

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