Ringrose set for return as Schmidt recalls big guns for France

Sean O’Brien is set to miss out, while captain Rory Best makes his return in the front row.

JOE SCHMIDT IS set to name a much-changed Ireland team to face France in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Garry Ringrose is likely to make his return from a hamstring injury at outside centre, while captain Rory Best, loosehead prop Cian Healy and second row James Ryan are also in line for recalls having been rested for the win against Italy two weekends ago.

Garry Ringrose Ringrose has been sidelined since the England game. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Josh van der Flier is set to return to the team at openside flanker, meaning Sean O’Brien drops out of the XV and the Tullow man could even miss out on making the matchday squad with Jack Conan strongly in contention for a bench place.

Iain Henderson is likely to be another addition to the starting XV after coming off the bench against Italy, while CJ Stander is set to be named at number eight having recovered from the fractured eye socket and cheekbone he sustained against England in round one.

Schmidt looks set to continue with a back three of Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale, while Bundee Aki is favourite to wear the number 12 shirt as Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray continue in the halfbacks.

Ireland’s bench positions have also been closely contested, with John Ryan expected to provide back-up to starting tighthead Tadhg Furlong, while Jordan Larmour is set for a return in the number 23 shirt. 

Schmidt is due to officially name his team tomorrow afternoon.

Possible Ireland team 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

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.

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