Preview: Ireland v Canada

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 08:36
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt insisted he had rejected a 'break clause' in his newly-signed contract extension that sees him stay in Ireland until the 2019 World Cup.

Thus, the New Zealand-born coach will not be part of the British and Irish Lions team to tour New Zealand in 2017.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland had said earlier this week 'there was an opportunity' to include Schmidt in his coaching team, just days after watching Ireland defeat world champions New Zealand for the first time.

But Schmidt would prefer to spend that time with his Ireland squad on their tour to the United States and Japan, so he can help bring on those young players who replace those in the Lions squad.

"I didn't decide to take up the option of a break clause. The contract was there, it was just that there was a break clause that I didn't opt for. A big part of the motivation for me not being involved in the Lions was going to the USA and Japan and working with this next cadre of players.

"The best of our players will go on the Lions and the more the better. That would be fantastic and hopefully a few more will put their hands up for Warren Gatland on Saturday.

"But the ones that don't go, they will become a really interesting group for us. I want to make sure I get to know those guys and getting away on tour is one of the best ways to do it," Schmidt said.

Schmidt has left the door open for the involvement of Andy Farrell, Ireland's defence coach and a former Lions coach.

"I would be delighted if Andy went. Firstly, because he is a tremendous coach and he does a fantastic job and it also means that Andy will keep a bit of an eye on our guys.

"It is certainly one collective but he will be able to give us a bit of feedback on how our guys are going there. So we will have both bases covered there. That would be quite nice but those will be decisions that are not mine to make," he added.

Schmidt has named a whole new starting XV for Saturday's test with three players making their debut and a further five uncapped players on the bench.

Leinster youngster Garry Ringrose starts at centre, with Munster No.8 Jack O'Donoghue also making his bow. Munster lock Billy Holland also wins a belated first cap at the age of 31.

"We are always looking. You maybe play a dozen tests a year so you don't get too many windows to actually allow people to put their hand up," Schmidt said of the new faces included.

Former Ulster coach Mark Anscombe, now in charge of Canada, is fully aware of the step up his players need to make, with 13 players in the current Canadian squad picked from the country's
domestic league.

"We need to establish some sort of depth in our playing squad. The competition is not here [in Canada] so, when they come to camp, we need to get them up to speed at Test level.

"The level of rugby they come from to the level they need to be at is so far removed. Coming from club rugby to Test rugby is such a steep step up," Anscombe said.

Recent results:

2015: Ireland won 50-7, Cardiff (WC pool match)
2013: Ireland won 40-14, Toronto
2009: Ireland won 25-6, Vancouver
2008: Ireland won 55-0, Limerick
2000: Drew 27-27, Markham
1997: Ireland won 33-11, Dublin
1987: Ireland won 46-19, Dunedin (WC pool match)

Prediction: The closest Canada have come to beating Ireland was a 27-27 draw at the start of the new millennium and one can only but think that result will not be repeating itself. Canada's showing in the 2015 World Cup showed that they can mix it with the big boys, however, they are going to be in for a bumpy ride. Ireland may have brought in uncapped players but they would be raring to go to stake a regular claim. With plenty to prove and coming off a high of smashing New Zealand, Ireland will certainly bag another victory, this time by about 27 points.


Ireland: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack O'Donoghue, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Niyi Adeolokun.

Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter (captain), 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Kyle Baillie, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru.
Replacements: 16 Eric Howard, 17 Rob Brouwer, 18 Matt Tierney, 19 Admir Cejvanovic, 20 Matt Heaton, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Patrick Parfrey, 23 Nick Blevins.

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 19.19 (19.15 GMT; 12.15 Canada time)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Thomas Charabas (France)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)