Rugby World Cup: Tommy Bowe in, Jared Payne out of showdown with Italy
Ulster's Tommy Bowe will retain his starting spot in Ireland's World Cup clash with Italy on Sunday - but there's bad news for provincial team-mate Jared Payne.
Monaghan man Bowe scored twice against Romania last week after missing out on the opener versus Canada and is to be rewarded with the right wing slot when Joe Schmidt confirms his team selection today.
Payne has been struggling with a bruised foot and has lost his race against time along with Rob Kearney, who has a strained glute.
The injuries in the backline should see Keith Earls moved to inside centre and Dave Kearney brought into the No.11 jersey.
Earls' position switch would mean Schmidt has opted against using Ulster's Darren Cave when faced with a midfield injury for a second time during this World Cup.
Robbie Henshaw is fit to make his tournament bow at the Olympic Stadium after missing the first two games.
Ireland team manager Mick Kearney said: "Robbie has come through training really powerfully and there's no issue with him. He's good to go if selected.
"Rob Kearney suffered a gluteal strain and didn't train in the early part of the week. Jared has a bruised foot, he hasn't trained so far this week."