Major changes as Ireland name team to take on England
Injuries to James Ryan and Garry Ringrose meant there were always going to be changes.
We all knew that there would be changes to the Ireland team to face England in their Six Nations finalé, but few would have guessed at how many.
There are six alterations to the Ireland team that defeated Scotland 27-24, last Sunday, with three further positional switches. Let's start with the recalls:
- Dave Kilcoyne
- Josh van der Flier
- Jack Conan
- Conor Murray
- Jacob Stockdale
- Bundee Aki
Cian Healy and Jamison Gibson-Park are on the bench, with James Lowe and Will Connors, who had been in great form, missing out on the matchday squad entirely. The IRFU has confirmed that Connors injured his knee in a Wednesday training session.
Heading into the game, which could see Ireland finish second if they snap their four-game losing streak against the English, captain Johnny Sexton said:
"As good a team as Scotland are, we have to look at ourselves first and foremost and need to improve. If you have a 14-point lead in international rugby, the next moment is the most important one and you can - not finish the game - but put a statement down.
"Top teams they take the kick-off, they clear their lines and then they put pressure on again. We’re just short of that at the moment."
Sexton also acknowledged that recent British & Irish Lions selections are filled with Six Nations champions with the rest of the slots going, in descending order, on where a nation finishes in the standings. So, from a Lions perspective, the Irish players can improve their selection changes by turning over last year's Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup winners.
Eddie Jones named his England team earlier today and included Saracens' Elliott Daly at outside centre, in place of the injured Henry Slade, while retaining Max Malins at fullback and putting Joe Marchant on the bench.
📄 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 🟢
Head Coach Andy Farrell has named his Ireland Match Day 23 for Saturday's #GuinnessSixNations clash against England at @AVIVAStadium 🙌
More: https://t.co/1vzKcJYlBx#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #IREvENG pic.twitter.com/lh2F9Nufjs
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 18, 2021
The game kicks off at 4:45pm on Saturday, followed by Wales vs. France in Paris.