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Ruddock captains under-strength Ireland

Rhys Ruddock will captain Ireland in Chicago this week as Joey Carbery starts at fly-half against Italy.

Joe Schmidt’s Irish side has a rather different complexion to that which cruised to the Six Nations Grand Slam, with regular skipper Rory Best and Johnny Sexton among those absent.

Ruddock leads the team as he did in last year’s tour of the United States and Japan, while Carbery takes Sexton’s place for a rare start.

Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Beirne are in the XV for the first time at Soldier Field.

Ross Byrne and Will Addison could both debut from the bench as Schmidt aims to keep a number of key players fresh for more testing fixtures later in the month, including a mouth-watering clash with New Zealand.

A young Italy side should allow for that, with South Africa-born flanker Johan Meyer making his Test bow.

The uncapped Jimmy Tuivaiti is on the Italy bench, alongside Irishman Ian McKinley.

Ireland XV to play Italy: Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Joey Carbery, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Niall Scannell, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Will Addison.

Italy XV to play Ireland: Luca Sperandio, Mattia Bellini, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Giulio Bisegni, Carlo Canna, Tito Tebaldi; Nicola Quaglio, Luca Bigi, Tiziano Pasquali, Marco Fuser, George Fabio Biagi, Johan Meyer, Abraham Steyn, Renato Giammarioli.

Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Cherif Traore, Giosue Zilocchi, Marco Lazzaroni, Federico Ruzza, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Guglielmo Palazzani, Ian McKinley.

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