Schmidt names Fitzgerald at 12 as Henshaw misses World Cup opener

JOE SCHMIDT HAS named Luke Fitzgerald at inside centre in his XV to face Canada for Saturday’s opening World Cup Pool D fixture at the Millennium Stadium.

Robbie Henshaw misses out through injury.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Iain Henderson has been given the nod in the second row, starting alongside captain Paul O’Connell.

Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony make up a strong back row, with Rory Best, Mike Ross and Jack McGrath starting in the front row. The inclusion of Cian Healy on the bench after his recovery from neck surgery will excite Ireland fans.

Fitzgerald partners Jared Payne in the midfield, while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray are the starting halfbacks. Rob Kearney is back from a knee problem at fullback, with his brother Dave and Keith Earls selected on the wings.

On the bench, Sean Cronin, Healy, Donnacha Ryan, Chris Henry, Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan and Simon Zebo all provide potential impact.

Ireland (v Canada):

15. Rob Kearney
14. Dave Kearney
13. Jared Payne
12. Luke Fitzgerald
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best
3. Mike Ross
4. Iain Henderson
5. Paul O’Connell (captain)
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip


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16. Sean Cronin
17. Cian Healy
18. Nathan White
19. Donnacha Ryan
20. Chris Henry
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Simon Zebo

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