MAYNOOTH, Ireland — Joey Carbury will be at flyhalf for Ireland against Fiji on Saturday at Lansdowne Road, with just two starters retained from the side which thumped South Africa 38-3.
Andrew Conway, a try-scorer against the Springboks, moves from wing to fullback, and Devin Toner remains at lock. With 51 caps, he’s Ireland’s most experienced player.
Carbery made his debut off the bench in Ireland’s win over New Zealand in Chicago a year ago and will earn his sixth cap. Kieran Marmion will be inside him at scrumhalf in a backline with just 44 caps.
Munster’s Chris Farrell, who spent three seasons in the French Top 14 with Grenoble, will make his debut at outside center. His midfield partner Stuart McCloskey will earn just his second cap.
“We are just hoping these guys try to follow up on the benchmark set last week,” coach Joe Schmidt said on Thursday. “There is no better way to test people but to throw them into the arena. You are playing against players who will exploit any weakness.”
One of Ireland’s biggest challenges will be trying to contain the imposing Nemani Nadolo. He returns to the left wing, having missed Fiji’s 19-10 defeat to Italy. Nadolo scored two tries for Montpellier against Leinster in Dublin last month in the Champions Cup. Timoci Nagusa switches to the right wing.
In the centers, Pau’s Jale Vatubua moves to 13, with La Rochelle’s Lepani Botia inside him. Henry Seniloli comes in at scrumhalf.
On the bench, sevens specialist Semi Kunatani, who plays for Toulouse, is in line for his international debut in the 15-man game. Prop Kalivate Tawake could also make his first appearance.
Fiji has never beaten Ireland, and lost their last test 41-6 in 2009.
Ireland: Andrew Conway, Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Stuart McCloskey, Dave Kearney, Joey Carbury, Kieran Marmion; Jack Conan, Jordi Murphy, Rhys Ruddock (captain), Devin Toner, Ultan Dillane, Andew Porter, Rob Herring, Jack McGrath. Reserves: James Tracy, Cian Healy, Tadgh Furlong, Kieran Treadwell, CJ Stander, Luke McGrath, Ian Keatley, Robbie Henshaw.
Fiji: Kiri Murimurivalu, Timoci Nagusa, Jale Vatubua, Lepani Botia, Nemani Nadolo, Ben Volavola, Henry Seniloli; Nemani Nagusa, Akapusi Qera (captain), Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Leone Nakarawa, Api Ratuniyarawa, Manasa Saulo, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Campese Ma’afu. Reserves: Sunia Koto, Peni Ravai, Kalivate Tawake, Sikeli Nabou, Perceli Yato, Semi Kunatani, Nikola Matawalu, Asaeli Tikoirotuma.