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No changes for Ireland as Schmidt keeps faith in Ringrose at 13

There is only one change to Ireland’s 23-man squad, with Tommy Bowe included on the bench.

JOE SCHMIDT HAS named an unchanged Ireland team to face Wales in the Six Nations on Friday night at the Principality Stadium [KO 8.05pm].

Garry Ringrose Garry Ringrose remains at outside centre. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

22-year-old Garry Ringrose has kept his place at outside centre and will win his seventh Ireland cap alongside Robbie Henshaw in the midfield.

With Ireland having recorded consecutive wins over Italy and France in the two most recent rounds of the championship, it was always likely that Schmidt would opt for a settled side ahead of the trip to Cardiff.

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray will again lead Ireland around the pitch as the halfbacks, while Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney – fully recovered from a groin issue – complete the backline.

A forward pack of Jack McGrath, captain Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip has a familiar feel to it.

Cian Healy and Peter O’Mahony, who had strong claims to start, have to be content with bench roles again this weekend.

The only change to Ireland’s matchday squad from the victory against France is an injury-enforced one, with Tommy Bowe replacing Andrew Trimble in the number 23 shirt after his Ulster team-mate suffered a broken hand during last weekend’s Pro12 action.

Bowe had missed out on inclusion in the initial 36-man Ireland squad for the final two rounds of the championship, but leaps ahead of the likes of Craig Gilroy and Andrew Conway after being called up due to Trimble’s injury.

Ireland (v Wales):

15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Simon Zebo
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Donnacha Ryan
5. Devin Toner
6. CJ Stander
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements:

16. Niall Scannell
17. Cian Healy
18. John Ryan
19. Iain Henderson
20. Peter O’Mahony
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Tommy Bowe

Referee: Wayne Barnes [RFU].

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