Birthday boy Carbery will be out-half in Chicago while Cork's Scannell also starts against Italy

Birthday boy Carbery will be out-half in Chicago while Cork's Scannell also starts against Italy
Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

JOEY CARBERY got the perfect birthday present when he was named as the starting out-half for the Ireland side to face Italy on Saturday in Chicago.

The Munster out-half who was 23 yesterday drew first blood in the battle with Ross Byrne to be Johnny Sexton’s understudy in the World Cup next year.

Irish coach Joe Schmidt hands Carbery just his fourth international start as he returns to the same venue where he made his debut in the historic win over the All Blacks two years ago.

“Joey’s an affable character and a fierce competitor so it’s not overly surprising that he’s fitted in well at Munster, especially because he knew so many of the players before he went there,” Schmidt said.

“His running game is a strength as is his work ethic, so that’s always a good starting point.”

Munster’s Tadhg Beirne will make his first international start while Cork’s Niall Scannell is again preferred to Seán Cronin due to his strength around the set-piece which he has shown since his return from injury for Munster.

IRELAND: J Larmour; A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, N Scannell, A Porter; T Beirne, Q Roux; R Ruddock (c), J van der Flier, J Conan. 

Subs: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, F Bealham, D Toner, J Murphy, J Cooney, R Byrne, W Addison.

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