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Ireland v USA team news: Four Ulster players to make international debuts while Will Addison in line for return


Robert Baloucoune will make his Ireland debut this weekend. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Robert Baloucoune will make his Ireland debut this weekend. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Robert Baloucoune will make his Ireland debut this weekend. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Four Ulster players will make their Ireland debuts in Saturday’s game against the USA at the Aviva Stadium.

Wing star Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Nick Timoney and Tom O’Toole will all take their international bows alongside relatively experience provincial team-mate Stuart McCloskey, while Will Addison is named among the replacements.

It’s reward for seasons of hard work by the Ulster quad, who will all aim to impress coach Andy Farrell with a view to forcing their way into the panel on a regular basis as the World Cup cycle approaches its midway stage ahead of the 2023 tournament.

Addison is in line to make his first Ireland appearance in almost two years after a torrid injury spell, while McCloskey holds his place at inside centre from last week’s win over Japan to earn his sixth cap.

James Ryan wears the captain’s armband and is partnered in the second row by Ryan Baird, who also makes his first start for Ireland. In the backrow Caelan Doris switches to the blindside flank to accommodate Gavin Coombes at No.8 with the uncapped Timoney lining out at openside.

In the front row, O’Toole is in alongside Ronan Kelleher and Dave Kilcoyne.

Craig Casey will make his first start for his country and will partner his provincial colleague Joey Carbery at half-back. McCloskey is, of course, partnered by Hume in the midfield while Hugo Keenan starts his 13th consecutive game for Ireland and is supported in the back field by Andrew Conway and Baloucoune.

As well as Addison, the replacements include Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, and the uncapped quartet Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade and Harry Byrne.

The match will be televised by Channel 4’s Youtube channel (NI) and RTE (ROI) and kicks off at 7.15pm.

Ireland team to play USA

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 12 caps

14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) uncapped

13. James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped

12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps

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11. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 24 caps

10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 23 caps

9. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 2 caps

1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 44 caps

2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 12 caps

3. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) uncapped

4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 4 caps

5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 36 caps captain

6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 8 caps

7. Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped

8. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 1 cap


16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 5 caps

17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 5 caps

18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 15 caps

19. Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped

20. Paul Boyle (Connacht/Buccaneers) uncapped

21. Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) uncapped

22. Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) uncapped

23. Will Addison (Ulster/Enniskillen) 4 caps

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