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Joe Schmidt takes charge of Ireland for his final home game after six years in charge.

The head coach will step down after the World Cup to return to his native New Zealand. 

After finally confirming his 31-man squad for the Japan tournament last Monday, Irish rugby fans get a glimpse into Schmidt's thinking with a very strong side named to face Wales, who also come in heavy-handed. 

With time running out to get up to speed, both teams can be expected to hold nothing back in their 129th meeting. 

As it happens, Schmidt's record against Wales is nothing to write home about with four wins, four losses and a draw to his name. Only games against England in his tenure have a lower success rate. 

Once again, a win for Ireland would see them top the world rankings for the first time. In the event of New Zealand failing to beat Tonga then a draw would see Ireland become number one. 

  • Wales (6.6) and Ireland (7.0) have averaged the fewest clean breaks per game of any Tier 1 sides in 2019
  • Ireland have lost just two of their 20 home games since the 2015 World Cup
  • Ireland's Dave Kilcoyne beat five defenders against Wales last weekend, in the last 10 years there have been just three previous instances of a Tier 1 prop beating 5+ defenders in a game


Joe Schmidt: "The dynamic power game that some teams have, I don't think that’s a shift. I mean that was Wales that we always knew. Wales in the last World Cup averaged 106kgs per man and that’s gargantuan by our standards, and they will be big on Saturday as well physically."

Warren Gatland: "Saturday is the first time these players would have taken to the field as members of the RWC squad, it has been a big week and it is a big opportunity for players to put their hand up and secure spots for the starting XV in Japan."

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Keith Earls; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong; James Ryan, Jean Kleyn; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Iain Henderson, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Jack Carty, Garry Ringrose

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Rhys Patchell, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Tomas Francis; Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones; Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Josh Navidi, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)