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Seven changes for Ireland as O'Brien misses out on matchday 23

Joe Schmidt has made six changes to his starting pack as several big guns return.

JOE SCHMIDT HAS made seven changes to his starting team to face France in the Six Nations on Sunday [KO 3pm].

Six of those come up front as captain Rory Best, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander make their returns to the XV, while Garry Ringrose comes in at outside centre after recovering from a hamstring injury.

pjimage CJ Stander, Rory Best and James Ryan all return. Source: Inpho

The introduction of van der Flier at openside flanker means Sean O’Brien drops out after starting the last two games and there is no space for the Tullow man in the matchday 23 as Jack Conan provides back row cover from the bench.

Best starts at hooker in place of Sean Cronin, while Healy’s inclusion sees Dave Kilcoyne move to the bench. Connacht’s Ultan Dillane drops to the bench to make way for Ryan and Henderson, as Quinn Roux misses out on involvement.

Tadhg Furlong, Peter O’Mahony, Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Jacob Stockdale, Bundee Aki, and halfbacks Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray are all retained.

The bench sees John Ryan picked ahead of Andrew Porter as the back-up tighthead, while John Cooney remains involved as the sub scrum-half despite Kieran Marmion’s return to fitness. Jack Carty will hope for his second cap as a replacement, while Jordan Larmour is back from injury to wear the number 23 shirt.  

Ireland (v France):

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

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Iain Henderson
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. CJ Stander


16. Niall Scannell
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. John Ryan
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Jack Conan
21. John Cooney
22. Jack Carty
23. Jordan Larmour

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe [New Zealand].

Andy Dunne joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey to discuss Joe Schmidt’s undroppables and how France might attack Ireland’s predictability in The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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