Joe Schmidt cautions that the short window in which his young and experimental team have been together is a factor ahead of the game against Italy in Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday evening. 

Rhys Ruddock captains a side which features a half-back pairing of Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery and a back three comprising of Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale. 

Ireland play four internationals this month, with Italy in Chicago followed by games against Argentina, New Zealand and the USA in Dublin. 

Speaking to reporters, Schmidt admitted that the 'glass half full' side of himself is primarily concerned that the team come through the game without injuries. 

"The pessimistic side of me is hoping for no injuries. The optimistic side of me is hoping for a really good performance, albeit in a very short window that that group have had together.

"They got together on Sunday evening and we had a chat about what we were going to do. We walked through some things before they caught their flight on Monday. 

"They've really only had one full training session and that was today. So, that's a challenge. I'm not sure it's that different for Conor (O'Shea) and his crew so it'll be a good match-up.