Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jame Heaslip (c), 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Paul O’Connell, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Dave Kearney.

Joe Schmidt has picked a strong looking team for Ireland’s 1st game of the November Series, against Samoa, on Saturday, 9th at 5.45 pm. The team has a mixture of youth and experience.

Paul O’Connell has been named as the Irish captain for the series, but Jamie Heaslip will be in charge against Samoa. O’Connell is on the bench for the game.

Jonny Sexton has been left out of the squad for the game, with Paddy Jackson taking the no.10 spot, Ian Madigan is on the bench.

Strong looking back-line, with a new look pack. Leinster’s Jack McGrath wins his 1st cap in the front row. Rory Best adds the experience (Best has improved since the Lions). Devin Toner and Mick McCarthy are the Leinster 2nd row so they’ll have experience working together.

Strong looking bench, with O’Connell joined by Cian Healy, Sean O’Brien and Ian Madigan. Leinster’s Dave Kearney is also a replacement and should win his 1st cap.

An exciting team overall. Good mix of youth and experience. Schmidt is giving the new guys a run out before the big games against Australia and New Zealand. It’s a good idea to rest Sexton, though I would have rested O’Driscoll as well. 

We should win the game, though Samoa are currently ranked ahead of us in the IRB rankings, though only by 1 place (Samoa are 7th, we’re 8th)! Hopefully, good results in the Series will elevate are ranking.   

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