WATCH: Iain Henderson to start against Italy; Jared Payne and Rob Kearney both left out

WATCH: Iain Henderson to start against Italy; Jared Payne and Rob Kearney both left out

Ireland’s two injury concerns, Jared Payne and Rob Kearney, have both been left out of the matchday squad for this weekend’s game against Italy.

WATCH: Iain Henderson to start against Italy; Jared Payne and Rob Kearney both left out

With current Pool D table-toppers France to be faced seven days later, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has opted to give both players the optimum time for recovery rather than risk them on Sunday.

Simon Zebo starts at fullback in place of Kearney, with Tommy Bowe and Dave Kearney on the wings.

Keith Earls moves to outside centre, while Robbie Henshaw makes a welcome return at 12, having trained fully all week.

The half back line is as expected, with Johnny Sexton returning to kicking duties at 10, with Conor Murray alongside him at scrumhalf.

Cian Healy is named on the bench with Jack McGrath starting instead at loosehead prop. Mike Ross at tighthead and Rory Best at hooker completes the front row.

In the second row Iain Henderson has once again been chosen ahead of Devin Toner to partner Paul O’Connell, with Toner named among the replacements.

Jamie Heaslip is once again named at number eight, and is flanked by Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony.

Ireland team: 15. Simon Zebo, 14. Tommy Bowe, 13. Keith Earls, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Jack McGrath, 2. Rory Best, 3. Mike Ross, 4. Iain Henderson, 5. Paul O’Connell, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Nathan White, 19. Devin Toner, 20. Chris Henry, 21. Eoin Reddan, 21. Ian Madigan, 23. Luke Fitzgerald.

Shaun Cronin, head sports reporter, breakingnews.ie speaking with Simon Lewis, golf and rugby correspondent with the Irish Examiner about Ireland’s clash with Italy in the RWC. Video by Dan Linehan

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