Earls chosen for Rugby World Cup opener against Romania

Keith Earls has officially announced his retirement from professional rugby. Photo: Dan Sheridan

KEITH Earls has been handed the number 14 jersey for Ireland’s opening Rugby World Cup 2023 clash with Romania in Bordeaux this Saturday (September 9).

It will represent for the Young Munster stalwart a 101st cap for his country. 

The back three lining out for Ireland against Romania is that of Hugo Keenan, Earls (35), and James Lowe.

Amongst the replacements are Garryowen pair Conor Murray (reserve half-back) and front-row option Jeremy Loughman. 

On his return from suspension, Johnny Sexton captains the side. 

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Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong; Joe McCarthy, James Ryan; Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Robbie Henshaw.

Romania: Simionescu; Onutu, Tangimana, Tomane, Manumua, Vaovasa, Rupanu, Hartig, Cojocaru, Gordas; Motoc, Iancu; Rosu, Neculau, Chirica (captain).

Replacements: Bardasu, Savin, Gajion, Iftimiciuc, Ser, Conache, Boldor, Gontineac.