Rugby Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland name team for Scotland clash with Rob Kearney and Keith Earls not fit to play

Rugby Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland name team for Scotland clash with Rob Kearney and Keith Earls not fit to play

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Keith Earls and Rob Kearney will miss Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland.

The vastly experienced pair have not been able to prove their fitness for Sunday’s game in Yokohama.

Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway start in their stead in the back three.

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“Keith Earls was the sharpest player on Wednesday at training,” coach Joe Schmidt said of the pair’s abscence. 

“He’s good and Rob Kearney trained well as well.

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“We were really just getting tight for time. The best continuity we had was to have the guys we’d had training through the time we were here.

“It’s exciting to have the back three we’ve got as well. It’s a great opportunity and a fantastic challenge.”

Larmour, 22, is selected in his preferred full-back position with Conway on the right wing. Jacob Stockdale starts on the left.

Up front, Rory Best captains the side, winning his 121st Irish cap at hooker, with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

The battle for the second lock position alongside James Ryan has been won by Iain Henderson. Tadhg Beirne is held in reserve, with controversial squad inclusion Jean Kleyn not in the matchday 23.

CJ Stander is preferred to Jack Conan at number eight, with Peter O’Mahony returning on the blindside.

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