Stuart McCloskey and Josh Van Der Flier will both start against England this weekend with Ultan Dillane on the bench.
Nothing less than a win will suffice for Ireland this weekend if they are to have any hope of retaining their title. Joe Schmidt spoke to the media following the team announcement to reveal why he went with his team selection.
“We’ve gone with form and we’ve gone with balance,” Schmidt explained of his selection calls. On the new caps, Schmidt said:
“Josh has been a guy that has impressed during the season… he has been tasked with the challenge of going out, in a very tough place, to claim the jersey….
“Stuart has a great opportunity to express himself and, at the same time, has to be watertight in an area we expect to be tested in.”
Schmidt however has warned the new blood, that Saturday will be a test like no other.
“You don’t know until you’ve been there how quick it is going to be and how physical it is going to be,” he said.