Kiss puts faith in youth
Press Association Ireland interim coach Les Kiss has handed debuts to Robbie Henshaw and Stuart Olding for the match against the United States Eagles – with three new faces ready to win their first caps off the bench. The Australian has put his faith in youth by making Connacht youngster Henshaw a full international at 19, meaning he becomes the fourth teenager to play for Ireland in the professional age after Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald and Rhys Ruddock. Kiss has opted for Leinster fly-half Ian Madigan ahead of Ulster’s Paddy Jackson in Saturday’s Houston contest, with the 24-year-old making his first start in the number 10 jersey for his province. Olding, meanwhile, is handed his first cap after just 15 appearances for Ulster and is just three months older than Henshaw. The Belfast Harlequins man finished the season “like a train” according to Kiss, who hands over the reins to Joe Schmidt at the end of this tour to the USA and Canada. The New Zealander arrives in Houston on Friday night and will watch from the stands at the BBVA Compass Stadium as Ireland take on a United States side with all their available big guns in the starting line-up. Coach Mike Tolkin includes Saracens’ Chris Wyles at full-back, while Northampton’s Samu Manoa is joined by Stade Francais’ Scott Lavalla and captain Todd Clever in a formidable back-row. Kiss expects a physical game from the Americans, who will fancy their chances against an Irish side with just 115 caps between them. He said: “We’ve watched upwards of six or seven games they’ve played. One recently and the rest more than a year ago. “They’re an impressive side over the last six or seven games. Mike Tolkin has come in and expanded on what Eddie was doing and there is a lot to like about the physicality of their game. They have got players like Todd Clever, Samu Manoa, (Louis) Stanfill, who is a handy lock, and Lavalla. They’re physical characters.” Ireland team: R Henshaw (Connacht); F McFadden (Leinster), D Cave (Ulster), S Olding (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster); I Madigan (Leinster), I Boss (Leinster); D Kilcoyne (Munster), R Strauss (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster); M McCarthy (Leinster), D Toner (Leinster); I Henderson (Ulster), C Henry (Ulster), P O’Mahony (captain, Munster). Replacements: M Sherry (Munster), J Hagan (London Irish), T Court (Ulster), D Tuohy (Ulster), T O’Donnell (Munster), P Marshall (Ulster), P Jackson (Ulster), F Jones (Munster).