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One injury has forced a change to the USA’s squad for the 10th and final test of the year against Ireland in Dublin Saturday. The second-ranked Irish, coming off an upset of top-ranked New Zealand, have sent six back to their professional clubs.
For the Eagles, Tony Lamborn is out with a leg injury. Chance Wenglewski, who earned his first cap against the Maori earlier this month, is back in camp. He left for a week, helped Lindenwood beat Navy, and has returned for international duty.
Samu Manoa, Will Hooley and Shaun Davies are all still with the team, despite having sat out recently. Manoa hasn’t played yet this tour, Davies suffered a concussion against the Maori, and Hooley was apparently hurt in the win over Samoa. It’s unclear if any will be available for Ireland.
The home team is fully expected to win Saturday, perhaps prompting some of the changes. All six of those being sent packing were kitted out for the New Zealand match. Rob Kearney started at fullback, James Ryan at second row and Kieran Marmion at scrumhalf. Hooker Sean Cronin, prop Jack McGrath and wing Jordan Larmour were on the bench.
Flanker Peter O’Mahony, who won man of the match against the All Blacks, suffered dead leg in the win, and his training time under close watch this week.
The million-dollar question this week is how strong of a side will Ireland field. Irish rugby is abuzz after beating mighty New Zealand for the second time ever and the first on home soil. Ireland will be well aware of what happened when Scotland selected down in June, resulting in a 30-29 loss.
The Irish were nearly felled the same way in 2013, escaping BBVA Compass Stadium in Dublin with a 15-12 win. A younger O’Mahony captained that Irish side, which was weakened during a British & Irish Lions tour.
Player of the Year candidate Jordan Sexton, captain Rory Best, O’Mahony and many of Ireland’s front-line stars are still with the team. However, Ireland will be playing their third-string scrumhalf at best, with Marmion leaving the tour and regular starter Connor Murray still nursing an injury.