Just Four Changes As Ireland Retain Sexton For Tonga Clash

Jonathan Sexton warms up at the Ireland rugby base in Tours, France. Getty Images

Captain Jonathan Sexton will start for Ireland in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup Pool B game against Tonga in Nantes.

Coach Andy Farrell has made just four changes in total from the win over Romania – Mack Hansen, Conor Murray, Ronan Kelleher and Josh van der Flier come back into the side.

Keith Earls, Jamison Gibson Park, Rob Herring and Joe McCarthy are the players that make way.

Dave Kilcoyne, Robbie Henshaw, Ross Byrne and Craig Casey are among the replacements.

38-year-old Sexton is in line to become Ireland’s leading point scorer at the expense of Ronan O’Gara after his pair of tries contributed to a 24-point haul move to within nine of IO’Gara’s record is 1,083.

The world’s top-ranked side hope to extend their record winning streak to 15 matches ahead of the pivotal Pool B games with World champions South Africa and Scotland.

Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Murray; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Baird, Casey, Byrne, Henshaw