The preparation for the World Cup starts here, and while no one is about to claim that the side that Ireland field here will have much of a bearing on the side that starts the first game, this is a good opportunity for a few players on the fringes to stake a claim with the manager. Joe Schmidt does have a track record of giving players an opportunity when he can see that they take on board his advice and directions, so there will be a healthy competition for places here. The squad that he has named has plenty of experienced campaigners too, with Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Ian Madigan all getting in the starting XV for the clash at Thomond.