Robbie Henshaw will make his first appearance of the Rugby World Cup after the centre was named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland side for the crucial Pool A clash with Samoa.
Henshaw has missed Ireland’s opening three World Cup matches with a hamstring issue but returns to the fold as one of 12 changes from Schmidt.
There were concerns over whether the match in Fukuoka would go ahead, as Typhoon Hagibis closes in on Japan – with England’s meeting against France and New Zealand’s game versus Italy cancelled – although it will be played as scheduled.
Had the match been called off, Ireland would have needed Japan – who top Pool A – to avoid defeat against Scotland on Sunday, should that game go ahead, in order to progress to the quarters.
Ireland’s fate is now firmly in their own hands, however, with Schmidt having named an experienced side for Saturday’s encounter, where a bonus-point win will seal qualification .
Along with Henshaw, Rory Best comes back to captain the side, with CJ Stander also drafted in.
Youngster Jordan Lamour gets the nod at full-back over the injured Rob Kearney, with only Jonathan Sexton, Keith Earls and Tadhg Beirne retaining their places from the win over Russia last time out.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) October 10, 2019
Ireland: Jordan Lamour, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best, Cian Healy.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Jean Kleyn, Peter O’Mahony, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway.