RWC 2015: Teams up for Ireland v Romania

Joe Schmidt has retained only three players from the side that demolished Canada in their opening round of the World Cup. Ulster’s Jared Payne, Munster’s Keith Earls and Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip are the only recognisable faces within the starting line-up to face Romania at Wembley on Sunday.

It will be the oldest starting XV in World Cup history, with an average of 29 years and 245 days bringing a wealth of experience to the game, which sees many players rested for the two crunch Pool D clashes against Italy and France yet to come.

Ulster’s Chris Henry, Darren Cave and Tommy Bowe are all given the opportunity to impress before the starting XV are nailed into place, with Cave pairing Payne in the centre for a midfield dominated by Ulstermen.

Elsewhere, Heaslip will take over the captaincy from Paul O’Connell, who sits this one out. Jordi Murphy is one of four debutants to feature and takes his role at blind-side next to Henry at open-side flanker.

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