Rugby World Cup
Robbie Henshaw sits out as Joe Schmidt names 12 changes for Ireland's clash with Romania
PA Sport
September 25, 2015
Ireland can still improve' - O'Mahony

Joe Schmidt makes 12 changes to his Ireland side that beat Canada and the Ireland coach has left out Robbie Henshaw, believing selection could have risked the Connacht centre's entire World Cup.

But despite Henshaw's omission, Schmidt is still confident the centre will be ready to face Italy despite leaving the 21-year-old out of Sunday's Pool D clash at Wembley.

Henshaw failed to recover from hamstring trouble in time to contest selection for Ireland's second World Cup encounter, with Ireland's reconstructed side set to make a new record as the oldest World Cup's starting XV.

Darren Cave slots in at 12 with Cian Healy back in at loosehead prop, while Johnny Sexton sits out.

"It was just that at the start of the week we felt we had to take it a little bit easier than we first thought with Robbie," said Schmidt. "He is fully running now and we just felt we'd rather not push ahead.

Robbie Henshaw beats Alex Goode to the high kick and scores a try for Ireland, Ireland v England, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, March 1, 2014
Robbie Henshaw © Getty Images

"Soft tissue injuries can be quite complicated. "If you get a re-injury on the same site then you are in a situation where his World Cup could be in doubt.

"So we've taken no risk. There are times to take risks but this is a great opportunity for Darren Cave."

Romania lost out 38-11 to France at London's Olympic Stadium on Thursday night and will be pressed into action four days later against Ireland.

Uneven rest periods have once again become a World Cup bugbear, with Japan suffering 45-10 defeat to Scotland just four days after stunning South Africa and the world with a 34-32 victory in Brighton.

Schmidt was keen not to accept his side gain an unfair edge against the world's 17th-ranked side this weekend - but did admit Ireland will take any help they can get.

"I don't know if it gives us an unfair advantage, that's something you might attach to it," said Schmidt. "But for us the draw is the draw.

"That's just the draw - that's the reality."

Johnny Sexton, Peter O'Mahony and Iain Henderson all returned to full training for Ireland on Friday after light knocks, but those three were never going to be called upon to face Romania in any case.

Ireland team to face Romania on Sunday:

S Zebo (Munster); T Bowe, J Payne, D Cave (all Ulster), K Earls (Munster); I Madigan, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss (all Leinster), N White (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), D Toner, J Murphy (both Leinster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, T Furlong (all Leinster), P O'Connell (Toulon), S O'Brien (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), P Jackson (Ulster), R Kearney (Leinster).

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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