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Ireland rules out Kearney, Earls for Cup opener v Scotland

TOKYO (AP) — Injured British and Irish Lions backs Rob Kearney and Keith Earls weren't risked by Ireland and won't play against Scotland in their Rugby World Cup opener on Sunday in Yokohama.

Kearney and Earls have calf and knee issues, respectively, and trained this week. Assistant coach Andy Farrell declared them available on Wednesday but the management took a different stance Friday.

As expected, Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway will deputize at fullback and wing.

Center Robbie Henshaw was already ruled out because of a hamstring that tightened in training last weekend, and flyhalf Joey Carbery was still recovering from an ankle injury sustained against Italy six weeks ago.

All four backs are expected to be available to play Japan in eight days.

With Henshaw out, Garry Ringrose was partnered with Bundee Aki in midfield.

From the pack which overwhelmed Wales in Dublin two weeks ago in a warmup game, lock Iain Henderson was in for newcomer Jean Kleyn, and Peter O'Mahony was back on the blindside flank, bumping CJ Stander to his usual No. 8 spot.

Only Henderson, front-rowers Cian Healy and captain Rory Best, and scrumhalf Conor Murray were in the match-day 23 against Argentina four years ago, when Ireland lost in the quarterfinals.

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Ireland: Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Cian Healy. Reserves: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Jack Carty, Chris Farrell.

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More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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