Friday, March 1, 2024

Doris, Sheehan fit for Grand Slam-chasing Ireland

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DUBLIN: Forwards Caelan Doris and Dan Sheehan passed fitness tests to start for Grand Slam-chasing Ireland against England in the Six Nations rugby on Saturday at Lansdowne Road.

Doris had a hip complaint and Sheehan a sore shoulder after the 22-7 win over Scotland last Sunday.

Robbie Henshaw replaced injured center Garry Ringrose, and Jamison Gibson-Park took over at scrumhalf after proving himself in the Scotland game.

Conor Murray was in the reserves after backing up superbly for Gibson-Park while he recovered from a hamstring injury hours before facing Wales in the opening match of the championship.

When lock Iain Henderson broke his forearm against the Scots, Ryan Baird stepped in and will carry on against England.

The additions increase Leinster representation to 12 of the starting XV.

Leinster’s Jimmy O’Brien was brought into the reserves alongside Ulster forward Kieran Treadwell and Rob Herring.

Ireland seek their first Six Nations title since 2018 and fourth ever Grand Slam.

England restored Owen Farrell to flyhalf and recalled Manu Tuilagi outside the captain in a muted reaction to the France humiliation.

There were five changes — one positional — on Thursday after England’s biggest defeat at Twickenham last Saturday by 53-10.

Wing Henry Arundell was handed a first start after six caps off the bench, and Anthony Watson accommodated him by shifting to the right wing and bumping out Max Malins.

In the only pack change, lock David Ribbans replaced Ollie Chessum, who injured an ankle in training on Tuesday.

Farrell was dropped last week to try and allow Marcus Smith to ignite the backline. But Smith was hapless behind a pack that was overwhelmed.

Tuilagi, free after a four-week ban while on club duty, will make his first appearance in this Six Nations as a like-for-like replacement for the injured Ollie Lawrence.

Lineups:

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Jonathan Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter. Reserves: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien.

England: Freddie Steward, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell (captain), Jack van Poortvliet; Alex Dombrandt, Jack Willis, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Ellis Genge. Reserves: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith, Joe Marchant.

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