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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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Open thread: Who would you have in the Ireland XV to play Scotland?

Joe Schmidt’s selection for Murrayfield will be fascinating.

Will we see Kearney back in the Ireland team this week?
Will we see Kearney back in the Ireland team this week?
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

DOUBTS OVER THE fitness of Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose and Devin Toner have muddied the selection picture for Joe Schmidt this week, while CJ Stander joins Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne and Luke McGrath in the treatment room for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Scotland.

Andrew Conway is also unavailable for the trip to Murrayfield as he returns to Munster for further treatment on calf tightness he pulled up with in training at the Aviva Stadium last Thursday.

Stander has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a facial injury, Toner aggravated a rolled ankle — described as Schmidt as ‘problematic’ — and Earls was withdrawn at half-time following a knock to his hip.

Ringrose, meanwhile, will be assessed by the Ireland team medics over the next 24 hours after reporting hamstring tightness late in the game against England, meaning injuries could colour Schmidt’s selection process.

Following the relocation of Robbie Henshaw to fullback, Rob Kearney could come back into the 15 jersey for the round two encounter, with Henshaw switching back to midfield alongside Bundee Aki if Ringrose fails to pull through in time.

Earls’ potential absence creates an opening on the right wing, and while Andrew Conway is also unavailable, Jordan Larmour is in contention to start opposite Jacob Stockdale. Ulster’s Will Addison will also be pushing for involvement after missing out on the matchday 23 last week. 

Both Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray had rare off days against England and on the assumption neither are carrying any knocks, should start their 51st Test as a half-back pair against the Scots — but Joey Carbery and John Cooney will be pressing their claims hard this week.

Ireland’s Sean O'Brien is tackled by England's Tom Curry Could Sean O'Brien start against Scotland? Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Up front, Toner’s injury presents Schmidt with a headache at second row, given Munster’s Beirne and Ulster lock Henderson are already sidelined, with one of Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane set to partner James Ryan in the engine room. 

Whether Toner trains on Tuesday with the rest of the Ireland squad at their Carton House base will be key — ditto with Earls and Ringrose. 

Stander’s absence opens the door for Jack Conan or Seán O’Brien at number eight, while Jordi Murphy and Rhys Ruddock have been in excellent form for Ulster and Leinster respectively. 

Either way, after Saturday’s disappointing defeat to England, Schmidt’s team announcement on Thursday afternoon will be fascinating.

Who would you like to see in Ireland’s starting XV to face Scotland?

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Potential Ireland XV (v Scotland):

15. Rob Kearney
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Ultan Dillane
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Seán O’Brien.

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Quinn Roux
20. Jordi Murphy
21. John Cooney
22. Joey Carbery
23. Will Addison. 

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