Joe Schmidt has named a 26 man team that will be flying to the USA to face Italy. The Irish have good memories of their encounters in the states as they defeated the All Blacks at Soldier field, a game that ended an 18 match unbeaten run that the All Blacks had at the time.
Among the travelling contingent is the uncapped Leinster fly half Ross Byrne who will be looking to make his debut on the weekend in the absence of Jonny Sexton who has been rested. Byrne will be aiming to impress and keep on Schmidt’s radar as one among the travelling half backs for next year’s world cup in Japan.
Byrne faces stiff competition in the form of Joey Carvery; the former Leinster man that moved to Munster at the beginning of the season to get more game time and avoid being under the shadow of Jonny Sexton has been in brilliant form for the Munster province; Byrne intends to compete for the number ten shirt and will be aiming to utilise all the game time he can get.
Ireland is nurturing what could be termed as its golden generation – the men in green defeated the world’s number one side and went on to topple England on the way to winning the grand slam. This would be a perfect opportunity to make a claim for the Webb Ellis trophy but first, they have to prove their worth in the November Series and the 2019 Six Nations that serve as dress rehearsals for Japan 2019.
After Saturday’s encounter with Italy, the Irish return home where they shall be hosting Argentina, New Zealand and USA.
Will Addison (uncapped)
Ross Byrne (uncapped)
Josh van der Flier