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Dublin: 0 °C Saturday 17 March, 2018

O'Mahony returns to Ireland line-up as Madigan handed place on the bench

This is the Ireland team to take on France in Saturday’s Six Nations decider.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND COACH JOE Schmidt has made just one change to his Ireland starting line-up for this weekend’s Six Nations finale against France.

The change is an expected one with Peter O’Mahony returning from a hamstring injury to take over at blindside flanker with Iain Henderson dropping to the bench.

The knock-on effect of the change means that Rhys Ruddock drops out of the match-day 23 with Henderson once again tasked with providing second row cover.

The majority of the starting line-up remains unchanged with Brian O’Driscoll in position to end his international Test caps record at 141 – 133 for Ireland.

The one surprise in Schmidt’s selection is the omission of Ulster out-half Paddy Jackson among the replacements. Jackson has been back-up to Jonathan Sexton in each of this season’s Six Nations fixtures so far, but this weekend will be on Pro12 duty while Leinster’s Ian Madigan is handed his first Championship jersey this season.

Ireland (v France): R Kearney; A Trimble, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, D Kearney; J Sexton, C Murray: C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell (Capt.) P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Moore, I Henderson, J Murphy, E Reddan, I Madigan, F McFadden.

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