Dublin — SA-born Jean Kleyn who became eligible to play for Ireland in August edged out veteran second-row forward Devin Toner when head coach Joe Schmidt announced his Rugby World Cup squad on Monday.
Kleyn, 26, won his first cap against Italy on August 10 two days after he became eligible through the three-year residency rule. Toner can feel hard done by, the 33-year-old Leinster stalwart — a key figure in the 2018 Six Nations grand slam campaign — starting 50 of Schmidt’s 67 Test matches as Ireland boss.
Also missing out is scrumhalf Kieran Marmion, who last November was praised for his marshalling of the Ireland team that recorded a historic home win over world champions New Zealand.
Leinster’s Luke McGrath goes as backup to first-choice Conor Murray instead — much is expected of the latter’s half-back partnership with world player of the year Johnny Sexton.
Sexton is due to play for the first time in the fourth and final World Cup warm-up match on Saturday in Dublin against Wales.
Grizzled hooker Rory Best, who showed a return to some form in Saturday’s 22-17 win over Wales after a much-criticised performance in the 57-15 thrashing by England, will captain the side in what will be his fourth World Cup.
Squad, forwards: Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Iain Henderson, Jean Kleyn, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier. Backs: Bundee Aki, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale. Coach: Joe Schmidt (NZ).
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