Six Nations

Ireland unchanged for Wales clash

2017-03-08 17:12
Joe Schmidt (Gallo)

Dublin - Leinster centre Garry Ringrose held onto the number 13 jersey as Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt named an unchanged team on Wednesday for Friday's Six Nations showdown with Wales.

With Jared Payne sidelined by heavy bruising sustained in Ulster's win over Treviso last Friday, Ringrose will resume his midfield partnership with club-mate Robbie Henshaw in Cardiff.

Payne has been recalled to Ireland's squad for their final two matches after overcoming a kidney problem, but there was no place for the New Zealand-born centre in the match-day 23.

"Robbie and Gary I think had a really good relationship and were building on that," Schmidt told a press conference in Dublin.

"So sometimes selection might be swayed because of the cohesion of the combination.

"Jared's experience -- potentially even off the bench -- would have been handy, because he plays full-back and has played wing, as well as the midfield.

"There are things where he has contributed hugely in the past, but you've got to keep your rhythm in this competition.

"We've got combinations we do feel are improving and we want to give them the opportunity."

Having beaten France 19-9 on their last outing in Dublin on February 25, Ireland sit second in the Six Nations table, three points below Grand Slam-chasing England.

The only change to the match squad from the win over the French saw Andrew Trimble drop out after suffering a hand problem that has ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.

Tommy Bowe takes Trimble's place among the replacements.

Ireland vice-captain Jamie Heaslip will win his 95th cap this weekend and 100th Test appearance in total including his five games for the British and Irish Lions.

Teams:

Ireland 

15 Rob Kearney; 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo; 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 CJ Stander; 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan; 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Cian Healy, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Peter O'Mahony, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Tommy Bowe

Wales 

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans

Substitutes:  16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jamie Roberts

Read more on:    ireland  |  six nations  |  rugby
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