Ireland change six for Japan

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has announced the team to face Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday in the second Test of the three-match tour.

There are six changes in personnel to the side that started last weekend's 55-19 victory over the USA in New Jersey, with Andrew Conway, Rory Scannell, Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy all coming in for their first starts.

Keith Earls, the man-of-the-match in the tour opener, shifts to the left wing to accommodate the inclusion of Conway in an all-Munster back-three completed by Simon Zebo, who returns at full-back.

The 23-year-old Scannell will partner Garry Ringrose (22) in a new centre combination, while former Ireland U20 team-mates McGrath and Paddy Jackson will fill the half-back berths against one of Ireland's Rugby World Cup 2019 pool opponents.

Leinster youngster Leavy is the only change up front, featuring at openside flanker alongside his provincial colleagues Rhys Ruddock, who captains Ireland for the second time, and Jack Conan who was one of eight Irish try scorers in New Jersey.

The same front five will pack down again with Cian Healy, Scannell's older brother Niall and John Ryan manning the front row positions, while Quinn Roux and Devin Toner, who is edging closer to a half-century of caps, will get a second successive outing together in the engine room.

Following on from the awarding of five new caps last week, Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell and Leinster centre/winger Rory O'Loughlin – aged 21 and 23 respectively – are standing by to make their Ireland debuts off the bench. James Tracy, Finlay Bealham and Jack O'Donoghue are also set for their first appearances of the tour.

Ireland: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Rory O'Loughlin, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran

Date: Saturday, June 17
Venue: Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka
Kick-off: 14:00 local (05:00 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Alex Ruiz (France)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

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