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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Porter to start for Ireland as Furlong and Henderson set to miss out

James Ryan is set to return to Ireland’s second row for the Six Nations clash with Wales.

JOE SCHMIDT IS set to hand Andrew Porter his second international start in Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Dublin on Saturday [KO 2.15pm], as Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson could miss out through injury.

Andrew Porter after the game Porter is set for his second start for Ireland. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

22-year-old Porter is set to take over from Furlong in Ireland’s number three shirt, with the Wexford man struggling due to a hamstring injury.

While Ireland refused to rule Furlong out yesterday, it increasingly looks like he will not feature against the Welsh.

Head coach Schmidt could also be without second row Henderson, with the Ulster man carrying a hamstring issue since the clash with Italy two weekends ago. Again, Ireland stated yesterday that the lock was ‘hitting his markers’ but he may not be fit in time to face Wales.

21-year-old James Ryan is set to return to Ireland’s starting team after recovering from a groin issue and he could partner Devin Toner in the second row.

Dan Leavy is set to join Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in Ireland’s back row, while Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will line up in the halfbacks again.

There is a tight call for Schmidt to make at loosehead prop, with Cian Healy and Jack McGrath both having shown good form, but Healy may edge that battle.

Chris Farrell is set to take over from the injured Robbie Henshaw at outside centre, partnering Bundee Aki in the midfield, while Schmidt looks likely to name a settled back three of Keith Earls, Jacob Stockdale and Rob Kearney.

Chris Farrell Farrell is set to be included at 13. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Fergus McFadden is favourite to return to Ireland’s 23 shirt, while Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion are set to be the other backline replacements.

Jack Conan’s ball-carrying impact may see him edge out Jordi Murphy for the back row spot on Ireland’s bench – both were involved in last week’s training camp in Athlone – while John Ryan, McGrath and Sean Cronin could provide the front row cover.

Schmidt is set to officially name his team at 1.45pm tomorrow.

Possible Ireland team v Wales:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Chris Farrell
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Andrew Porter
4. James Ryan
5. Devin Toner
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Dan Leavy
8. CJ Stander


16. Sean Cronin
17. Jack McGrath
18. John Ryan
19. Quinn Roux
20. Jack Conan
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Joey Carbery
23. Fergus McFadden

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