Ireland will be out to keep the momentum from their famous win over New Zealand when they host Canada at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Ireland’s two Tests against the All Blacks are interrupted by a Canada fixture which allows them to rest key players while hopefully keeping the momentum of their historic 40-29 win over the Kiwis in Chicago last week.
Beating the All Blacks twice in one year is a mean feat, but it won’t be easy so Ireland must use the game against Canada to build on what happened last week and keeping the confidence they will most surely need to conquer the All Blacks for a second time in three weeks.
The two teams have only played each seven times, the last time at last year’s World Cup Pool D clash in Cardiff where Ireland ran out comfortable winners in a 50-7 rout.
The closest Canada have come to beating the Irish was in 2000 when the game finished with a 27-27 draw. The Canadians haven’t come close since.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has used this fixture to blood some new players, but they will hope it doesn’t destabalise them too much. Peter O’Mahony will captain Ireland against Canada in his first outing for his country since the World Cup.
There are three uncapped players in the starting XV and a further five named in the replacements.
Skipper O’Mahony is joined in the back row by Sean O’Brien and the uncapped Jack O’Donoghue. Billy Holland will make his Ireland debut in the second-row alongside Ultan Dillane while last weekend’s replacement front-row of Finlay Bealham, Sean Cronin and Cian Healy start this weekend.
Kieran Marmion and Paddy Jackson form a partnership at half-back, while Luke Marshall and new cap Garry Ringrose are paired together in the midfield. The back-three is made up of Craig Gilroy and Keith Earls on the wings and Tiernan O’Halloran, capped during the summer in South Africa, at fullback.
In the replacements, the five uncapped players are James Tracy, John Ryan, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath and Niyi Adeolokun. They are joined by Dave Kilcoyne, Donnacha Ryan and Joey Carbery, who made his debut against New Zealand in Chicago.
Canada will be captained by captained by Aaron Carpenter who leads a squad with a wealth of experience including the return of DTH van der Merwe, Brett Beukeboom, Conor Trainor and Connor Braid to the starting line-up.
The familiar trio of Djustice Sears-Duru, Ray Barkwill and Jake Ilnicki form Canada’s front row with Beukeboom joining Newcastle Falcon Evan Olmstead at lock.
Kyle Baillie and Lucas Rumball start at flanker while Carpenter will earn his 75th test cap from the number eight position, leaving him one cap behind Al Charron’s Canadian record of 76.
Gordon McRorie starts at scrum-half while Connor Braid gets the nod at fly-half. Van der Merwe and Taylor Paris will man the wings with Trainor and Ciaran Hearn starting in the centres. Cornish Pirate Matt Evans starts at full-back.
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, 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Kyle Baillie, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Djustice Sears
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
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 (c), 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
Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Kick-off: 19:15 GMT
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Thomas Charabas (France)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)