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Tommy Bowe may be made available for Ulster to gain game-time

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Published 27/08/2015

Raring to go: Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney are set to start in Ireland’s final World Cup warm-up game against Wales
Raring to go: Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney are set to start in Ireland’s final World Cup warm-up game against Wales

Joe Schmidt will name his strongest line-up yet for Saturday's warm-up clash against Wales, with Six Nations heroes Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw, Jonny Sexton, Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony primed for their first hit-out of the season.

The Ireland coach will pick his final 31-man squad for the World Cup on Sunday and the clash with Warren Gatland's men is a final chance to impress the coaching staff.

The back three and centre positions remain the hardest to call and Schmidt may field Luke Fitzgerald alongside Henshaw in the centre to allow him to demonstrate his versatility, with Keith Earls and Dave Kearney expected to start on the wings.

Tommy Bowe may link up with Ulster in order to get some game-time in their pre-season friendly against Edinburgh tomorrow night, while Andrew Trimble could be given an opportunity to prove his fitness off the bench.

Sexton and Murray are expected to renew their partnership at half-back, with Paddy Jackson covering the fly-half off the bench.

Up front, Nathan White is primed for his first start at tighthead after making his debut off the bench against Scotland, with Jack McGrath and Richardt Strauss making up the front-row.

It remains to be seen if Marty Moore features off the bench as he races to shake off the foot injury that kept him out of training this week and, if he doesn't make it, Tadhg Furlong may make his debut from the sidelines if Schmidt decides to wrap Mike Ross in cotton wool.

On the other side, Cian Healy will not feature but sources indicate that the loosehead prop has made significant progress in recent days and is likely to make the cut on Sunday.

Paul O'Connell will lead the side on his final appearance for Ireland on home soil and Schmidt could partner him with Iain Henderson, with Donnacha Ryan covering from the bench.

O'Mahony looks set to join Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip in the back-row.

England have omitted Danny Cipriani from their World Cup squad.

Cipriani mounted a late challenge for inclusion in the 31-man party, to be announced today, but has found his path blocked.

The 27-year-old's exclusion comes despite inspiring England's fightback in the 25-20 defeat by France in Paris on Saturday with a dynamic cameo from the bench.

International: Aviva Stadium, Saturday 2.30 pm

Ireland

Wales

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