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Farrell makes six changes for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England

Johnny Sexton, Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Bundee Aki, Cian Healy, and James Ryan all start.

Ryan, Sexton, and Healy come into the Ireland XV.
Ryan, Sexton, and Healy come into the Ireland XV.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell has made six changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against England at Twickenham [KO 4.45pm, RTÉ], with Johnny Sexton returning to captain the team.

Sexton is back in the number 10 shirt after coming off the bench in Ireland’s last game against Italy, while Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Bundee Aki, Cian Healy, and James Ryan also come into the starting team.

Connacht man Mack Hansen misses out on the matchday 23 altogether after starting the opening three games of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.

Peter O’Mahony, who came into the side for the Italy clash, has retained his place in the back row as Jack Conan has to settle for a spot on the bench again.

As expected, Keenan is back in Ireland’s number 15 shirt as Mike Lowry makes way after impressing there on his debut against Italy. Conway returns on the right wing as James Lowe continues on the left, meaning that Hansen is left out.

Farrell has opted to bring Bundee Aki into the number 12 shirt, so Robbie Henshaw drops to the bench as Garry Ringrose continues at 13. Sexton is partnered in the halfbacks by Jamison Gibson-Park, who has started every game of this Six Nations so far.

The injured Andrew Porter is replaced by the experienced Cian Healy at loosehead prop, with Dave Kilcoyne offering back-up off the bench, while Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong are retained in the front row.

Ryan is back from the injury that kept him out of the Italy clash, so he comes into the second row for Ryan Baird, who misses out on involvement in the 23 as Ulster captain Iain Henderson returns to the bench after being ruled out of Ireland’s last game due to Covid-19.

Tadhg Beirne will be crucial again from the second row, while the back row of O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, and Caelan Doris is also retained.

Having started the last two games against France and Italy, Joey Carbery returns to the Irish bench, where he is joined by Conor Murray after their Munster team-mate Craig Casey had been involved against the Italians.

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Ireland (v England):

  • 15. Hugo Keenan
  • 14. Andrew Conway
  • 13. Garry Ringrose
  • 12. Bundee Aki
  • 11. James Lowe
  • 10. Johnny Sexton (captain)
  • 9. Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 1. Cian Healy
  • 2. Dan Sheehan
  • 3. Tadhg Furlong
  • 4. Tadhg Beirne
  • 5. James Ryan
  • 6. Peter O’Mahony
  • 7. Josh van der Flier
  • 8. Caelan Doris

Replacements:

  • 16. Rob Herring
  • 17. Dave Kilcoyne
  • 18. Finlay Bealham
  • 19. Iain Henderson
  • 20. Jack Conan
  • 21. Conor Murray
  • 22. Joey Carbery
  • 23. Robbie Henshaw

Referee: Mathieu Raynal [FFR].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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