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Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway both set to start against Scotland as Ireland injuries force Schmidt's hand

 

Jordan Larmour
Jordan Larmour

By Cian Tracey

Joe Schmidt will be forced into re-jigging his back-three for Sunday's World Cup opener against Scotland in Yokohama.

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Despite assistant coach Andy Farrell yesterday insisting that Rob Kearney and Keith Earls are available, it is understood that both veterans are struggling with injury, while Robbie Henshaw will definitely miss out due to his hamstring problem.

Kearney damaged his calf in training earlier this week and hasn't fully recovered with Earls in the same boat regarding his knee issue. Should both players miss out as expected, Andrew Conway is in line to start at full-back with Jordan Larmour set to take Earls' place on the right wing.

Although there are doubts hanging over three of Ireland's backs, Farrell confirmed that Ulster ace Will Addison, who is on standby, has not been asked to join the squad in Japan.

"The best thing for Will is for him to keep ticking over and playing and training, and keeping his rugby brain going as well," Farrell said.

"He's had a good pre-season because he's come back from a big old injury with his back, so it's important that he keeps going rugby-wise."

Otherwise, Schmidt is expected to name a full strength team tomorrow at 7am (BST).

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Farrell added that he expects to see Ireland returning to their best form for what is a huge clash with Scotland in Yokohama.

"We would expect quite a bit (of improvement). We have been gearing up for this game. Our whole pre-season has been building to certain parts to get different stages and bases of skill level and fitness etc," he said.

"Our planning has been building up to a good start in this competition, so you would except for us to hit the ground running."

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