Ireland have a new captain
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Ireland named Tadhg Furlong to captain the team as they take on Fiji at Lansdowne Road Stadium on Saturday.
Furlong is the 109th player to captain Ireland as he makes his 62nd Test appearance in green.
While Furlong is not the first prop to captain his country, the last one to do so was Simon Best against Argentina in 2007.
Johnny Sexton first captained Ireland against Russia at the 2019 World Cup in Japan and was then made permanent captain following Andy Farrell’s appointment as Ireland’s coach and Rory Best’s retirement.
Since taking over as coach, Farrell has facilitated opportunities for the leadership group to wear the captain’s armband with James Ryan first captaining the side against England in 2020 and on three other subsequent occasions, while Iain Henderson led the group against France in 2021.
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There are five players in the starting side to face Fiji that started games against the Māori All Blacks during the mid-year tour of New Zealand – Jimmy O’Brien, Stuart McCloskey, Jeremy Loughman, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney.
Tom O’Toole, Cian Prendergast and Craig Casey, who are amongst the replacements for Saturday’s game, also started matches in the Māori Series.
There are three uncapped players in the Match Day Squad – Loughman, who starts at loosehead prop, Prendergast who is covering lock and Jack Crowley, who is covering flyhalf.
All three featured for Ireland ‘A’ against the All Blacks XV last weekend along with Max Deegan, who is named on the bench and is line for his second cap having made his debut against Wales in February 2020.
Deegan, Prendergast and Crowley were part of the successful Emerging Ireland tour to Bloemfontein.
Ireland: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Tadhg Furlong (captain), 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Cian Prendergast, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Garry Ringrose.
Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Lansdowne Road Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 13.00 (13.00 GMT; 01.00, Sunday, November 13 Fiji time)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Tual Trainini (France), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Chris Hart (New Zealand)