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Ready for action: Jacob Stockdale training in Chicago last night

Ready for action: Jacob Stockdale training in Chicago last night

Ready for action: Jacob Stockdale training in Chicago last night

Jacob Stockdale is the only Ulster player in Ireland's starting line-up to take on Italy in Saturday's Chicago Test match.

The 22-year old star winger will be winning his 12th Irish cap when Joe Schmidt's side return to Soldier Field, the venue where they made history two years ago by defeating world champions the All Blacks for the first time.

There are three other Ulster players in Schmidt's 23-man match day squad as Ireland begin their four-Test autumn programme.

Flanker Jordi Murphy and scrum-half John Cooney are joined on the bench by new Ulster signing Will Addison, who is set to win his first cap.

Stockdale, after an injury-delayed start to his season, has played three times for Ulster and scored in all three games and will be hoping to bring his try-scoring form back to the international stage.

The Lurgan man scored a record seven tries in last season's Six Nations as Ireland won the tournament and claimed their third ever Grand Slam, and his scoring feats saw him named Six Nations Player of the Tournament.

With regular front-liners such as skipper Rory Best, Johnny Sexton and Peter O'Mahony rested for the trip, Schmidt will use this game to test his strength in depth.

Munster's Joey Carbery has been handed the No.10 shirt while, in the absence of injured Conor Murray, Leinster's Luke McGrath starts at scrum-half. Leinster's Rhys Ruddock leads the side in Best's absence.

Ireland's November programme also sees them take on Argentina, the All Blacks and USA back in Dublin on successive Saturdays.

Belfast Telegraph