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Heaslip to return but Schmidt keeping faith for Six Nations clash with Wales

The Ireland head coach looks likely to avoid changes as he aims to maintain winning momentum.

JAMIE HEASLIP IS set to start at number eight for Ireland on his return from a back injury in Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales at the Millenium Stadium [KO 14.30].

Devin Toner, Jamie Heaslip and Sean OÕBrien Heaslip is set to return at number eight after his recovery. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Head coach Joe Schmidt will, however, avoid wholesale changes to his match day 23 as Ireland look to maintain the winning momentum they have gathered over their 10 most recent fixtures, including victories over Italy, France and England in this championship.

Heaslip’s recall means Jordi Murphy is likely to move to the bench despite an impressive showing against England. That in turn would mean Tommy O’Donnell missing out despite another excellent performance off the bench last time out.

Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne have both recovered from their concussion issues to continue at openside flanker and outside centre respectively, while out-half Johnny Sexton is again primed to direct Ireland’s latest game plan.

On the bench, Schmidt looks set to steer clear of alterations too, with Cian Healy being kept in reserve once again, while Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan and Felix Jones are likely to provide backline support.

Ireland name their match day 23 to take on Warren Gatland’s side at lunchtime tomorrow.

Jonathan Sexton Sexton's hamstring injury has been remedied. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Possible Ireland team to face Wales:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Jared Payne
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Simon Zebo
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best
3. Mike Ross
4. Devin Toner
5. Paul O’Connell (captain)
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin
17. Cian Healy
18. Marty Moore
19. Iain Henderson
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Felix Jones

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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