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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

'He maybe could have played': Henshaw not risked due to Farrell form

Joe Schmidt wasn’t ready to chance Henshaw with ‘Chris Farrell sitting in the wings, massively motivated’.

Chris Farrell in training at Carton House today.
Chris Farrell in training at Carton House today.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt stressed the ‘opportunity’ ahead of Chris Farrell as he opted to play the Munster centre against Scotland.

Schmidt was reportedly set to instead start Robbie Henshaw in midfield alongside Bundee Aki as Ireland aimed to bounce back from dedeat. The Leinster man trained as a centre during Tuesday’s training session at Carton House, but was absent today ahead of the official team announcement due to a dead leg.

“It’s just a bit of aggravation after having a knock,” said Schmidt.

“It’s a knock on top of a knock. It does make it difficult; the problem is he maybe could have played. But if you get another bump on it it debilitates you quickly and then you have to make another change.”

Schmidt admitted that even a fit Henshaw would most likely not have reprised his role as fullback a week on from the loss to England, with Garry Ringrose’s hamstring issue prompting Rob Kearney’s recall rather than Henshaw’s knock.

“Once Garry Ringrose was ruled out it was going to be (about) trying to keep a little continuity as best we can and get as cohesive as we can in a short space of time.

“You’ve got Chris Farrell sitting in the wings, massively motivated to do his best. So it’s a great opportunity to get him in and give him a run.

“We’re just going to have to forge ahead, but it’s an exciting opportunity to give Chris Farrell a run against Scotland. He’s coming back to form after a long lay-off.”

Farrell’s last international appearance came in the Six Nations win over Wales last year. He subsequently suffered an ACL injury in training, but since returning in November he has helped push Munster into the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stages.

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