Ireland name bloody exciting team to play France
Ireland are as close to full-strength as they are ever going to get for this Saturday's visit of France.
Joe Schmidt has been able to recall captain Rory Best, outhalf Johnny Sexton and loose-head Jack McGrath for Ireland's first home game of the 2017 Six Nations.
The Kiwi was delighted to see Best, Sexton and fullback Rob Kearney all take full part in this morning's training session at Carton House before deciding on his team. It is the same match-day 23 that we predicted on SportsJOE last night.
— Pat McCarry (@patmccarry) February 23, 2017
McGrath and Best are joined by tight-head Tadhg Furlong in the front row while the second row - Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner - and back row - CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip - are unchanged.
Sexton is partnered by scrum-half Conor Murray and the Irish midfield - Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose - and back three - Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Kearney all get another game to solidify their combinations.
The other changes are on the Irish bench, with Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony and Andrew Trimble all being drafted in. The only players missing from the fray, and not back on provincial duty, are long-term injuries Jordi Murphy and Jared Payne. Ian Madigan remains out of favour.
Earlier today, France coach Guy Noves made three changes to his France team that did for Scotland in Paris a fortnight ago. Yoann Huget, Rabah Slimani and Bernard Le Roux all return.
15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Simon Zebo
10. Johnny Sexton
9 Conor Murray
1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best (c)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. CJ Stander
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: N Scannell, Healy, J Ryan, Henderson, O'Mahony, Marmion, Jackson. Trimble.
Ireland vs. France kicks off at 4:50pm this Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.