Friday, March 1, 2024

Ireland: Henshaw starts after Ringrose injury but Sheehan and Doris fit

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Ireland have been forced into a few changes for their Six Nations clash with England, but have crucially seen key players prove their fitness ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

The Irish suffered a plethora of injuries during their match with Scotland at Murrayfield, which included seeing both hookers go off.

One of those, Dan Sheehan, is available and starts this weekend but the other, Ronan Kelleher, did not recover in time, so Rob Herring takes his place on the bench.

Ringrose and Henderson replacements

Centre Garry Ringrose and lock Iain Henderson had already been ruled out of this weekend’s game prior the team announcement, which means Ryan Baird and Robbie Henshaw come into the XV.

There are no other enforced alterations for Ireland as Caelan Doris – another doubt – has come through training to once again start at number eight.

However, head coach Andy Farrell has decided to rotate his scrum-halves with Jamison Gibson-Park coming in for Conor Murray.

Gibson-Park will partner captain Johnny Sexton at half-back, with the 37-year-old likely playing his last-ever Six Nations game.

They will be looking to feed an impressive backline as Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen and James Lowe combine in the back three, with Henshaw and Bundee Aki at centre.

Up front, Josh van der Flier wins his 50th cap and partners Doris and Peter O’Mahony in the back-row.

In the engine room, James Ryan will be looking to continue his fine form after starring in the competition so far.

Ryan and Baird will give support to the front-row, with Tadhg Furlong, Sheehan and Andrew Porter linking up.

There are three new players in the 23 as Herring, Kieran Treadwell and Jimmy O’Brien are among the replacements, with Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Jack Conan, Murray and Ross Byrne completing the squad to face England.

The team

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Ryan Baird, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Jimmy O’Brien

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

READ MORE: Ireland are embracing favourites tag ahead of Grand Slam decider against England

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