Open Thread: Who would you pick in Ireland’s starting XV to face England?

AFTER LAST WEEKEND’S physically and mentally bruising defeat at home to Wales, the sight of Luke Fitzgerald and Keith Earls going off injured filled us with dread for the nervous weeks ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

That dread was compounded yesterday when England head coach Stuart Lancaster went ahead and named what is possibly (short of Sam Burgess) the most physical side he could put on the field.

With Joe Schmidt having cut his squad to the regulation 31, have we passed the time of keeping players wrapped in cotton wool? Or is Twickenham a job for the players we don’t see much of in Schmidt’s regular starting line-up? After all, it is the final warm-up fixture before Canada throw the kitchen sink at Ireland on 19 September.

Cian Healy passes some loosehead secrets on to Tadhg Furlong Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Here’s the 31-man squad if you need a reminder. Earls and Fitzgerald are both expected to recover in time for this game and Schmidt has also given a good prognosis for Cian Healy who may be fit enough for the bench when the Kiwi names his team tomorrow.

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Tell us, who you think has to feature against England? And who should be among the eight squad members not involved in the 23 on Saturday?

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