Six Nations

Ireland change one for England

2015-02-27 18:41
Joe Schmidt (AFP)

Dublin - Jordi Murphy replacing the injured Jamie Heaslip is the only change to the starting line-up for Six Nations champions Ireland's potential Grand Slam deciding clash with England in Dublin on Sunday.

Murphy, who played in the opening victory over Italy, comes in at No8 for Heaslip, who suffered three fractured vertebrae when he was kneed in the back by lock Pascal Pape in Ireland's 18-11 win over France two weeks ago.

It is only the third time in eight Six Nations campaigns that an Ireland side has lined up without British and Irish Lion star Heaslip and comes at an inopportune moment as they face the only other side to have won both their opening two games.

"We did look at other options," said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

"However, Iain Henderson suffered a knock on the knee earlier in the week and missed a day's training. That allied with Jordi's performances against Argentina in the first Test last year and in the win against Italy got him the nod.

"He's a quiet guy off the pitch but he's a workaholic on it.

"Losing a decision maker like Jamie is a blow, because he is used to the pressures of these type of matches.

"However, it is a challenge for (back row partners) Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien to support Jordi when the going gets tough."

The other changes to the matchday 23 comes on the replacements bench with scrum-half Eoin Reddan replacing Isaac Boss and flanker Tommy O'Donnell -- a try scorer against Italy but omitted for the France game -- slipping into the vacancy left by Murphy's promotion.

Schmidt said several other players had been pressing their cases for inclusion, including experienced centre Keith Earls, wing Dave Kearney and utility back Luke Fitgerald, who have all been returning from injury.

"Dave was one of our standout players last year in the Six Nations, Keith has been making great progress and Luke we considered but if we brought him on, it would give us three left footers in the back five," said Schmidt.

"Also the way things are at the moment players are going to have to muscle their way past those in situ. That is not to say those in possession of the jersey at the moment should assume anything."

Ireland's sole loss under Schmidt in his first Six Nations campaign last year came at the hands of England, who have won their last four meetings with the Irish, and won on nine of their last 13 visits to Dublin.

"We are under no illusions that it's going to be a tough day against England, it always is," said Schmidt.

"They showed character and collectivity in the way they came back against Wales (in their opening match when they came back to win from 10-0 down to win 21-16)."

Ireland will be captained by iconic lock Paul O'Connell, who will be winning his 99th Irish cap, and he will be hoping to lead the hosts to a 10th successive test match win, equalling the national record set back in 2002/03 and ended by England in a winner takes all Grand Slam match in Dublin.



15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones


15 Alex Goode, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 George Kruis, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Nick Easter, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Billy Twelvetrees

Read more on:    ireland  |  six nations  |  joe schmidt  |  rugby

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