Putting their hands up for Japan: Three fringe players looking for a start

A 21st-minute replacement for Bundee Aki, who would not return from a Head Injury Assessment, Farrell more than held his own at inside centre in a midfield battle that he and Garry Ringrose won hands down.

Putting their hands up for Japan: Three fringe players looking for a start

Three fringe players looking for a start

Chris Farrell

A 21st-minute replacement for Bundee Aki, who would not return from a Head Injury Assessment, Farrell more than held his own at inside centre in a midfield battle that he and Garry Ringrose won hands down.

Aki may be Schmidt’s regular starter at number 12 but the six-day turnaround to Japan puts the Connacht star under the pump to pass his return to play protocols and prepare properly for the second game.

Farrell, meanwhile, has shown he can step up to the mark. He was solid in defence and inventive with ball in hand.

Jordan Larmour

And, by association, Andrew Conway.

Ireland spent the last week pretending both Rob Kearney and Keith Earls were fit enough to face the Scots at full-back and wing respectively.

Then they picked Larmour and Conway for World Cup debuts at 15 and 14. Both men made strong cases for retention with 23-year-old Larmour proving he was a safe pair of hands in the most testing of conditions.

More adventurous with ball in hand than Kearney, and certainly quicker, Larmour may be the right man to face the high-tempo Japanese in Shizuoka this weekend.

Joey Carbery

Without making the matchday squad, the fly-half advanced his claim. Not risked yesterday following his ankle injury against Italy on August 10, he would surely have replaced Johnny Sexton the moment the starting 10 relinquished goal-kicking duties midway through the first half.

Instead of sending on Jack Carty as an immediate replacement, the tee was handed to Conor Murray, who kicked one conversion but missed another and a penalty in three attempts.

Carbery has the guile in open play to keep Japan on the wrong side of the ball and the goal-kicking consistency to earn him the starting role on Saturday.

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