Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hopes Will Addison can “hit the ground running”, with the Cumbrian having earned his first start at full-back for the Irish against Wales.

Penrith-born Addison, who qualifies for Ireland through his County Fermanagh mother, will start for Schmidt’s side at the Principality Stadium on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).

“For Will, it’s a really important opportunity, but he has to hit the ground running,” said Schmidt on Addison.

“He’s trained really well this week, so we’re hoping he can hit the ground running. He’s a very capable kicker of the ball, including goal-kicking, and the jack of all trades that we very well might need.”

Addison is still in the frame to squeeze into Ireland’s final 31-man World Cup squad due to his versatility. Ireland have not named a recognised fly-half on their bench, with replacement centre Garry Ringrose and Addison both covering that role.

“As far as out-half cover, we’ve got a couple of guys: Will is one of them and Garry Ringrose is the other,” Schmidt admitted.

“Garry has played a bit of outhalf at school level. He has the temperament and skill base to fit in there.”

Schmidt has also leapt to the defence of veteran hooker Rory Best, branding criticism of his Ireland captain “unfair”.

Ulster stalwart Best, 37, has been added to the bench at his own request.