Ireland vs. England team news as Andy Farrell makes changes for Grand Slam decider
Not for the first time, injuries have played a part.
England are coming to Dublin on St Patrick's weekend and their hosts have a Grand Slam to play for. Andy Farrell has named his Ireland team, with six changes across the match-day squad.
Injuries to Scotland starters Garry Ringrose and Iain Henderson mean there would be at least two starting XV changes, with more on the bench. Doubts over Dan Sheehan, Rónan Kelleher and Caelan Doris meant there might be even more. So it proved, but one of the changes was tactical.
Ryan Baird came straight into the second row and partners James Ryan. Kieran Treadwell covers second row from the bench, after doing well in that back-up role against New Zealand and in the Bank of Ireland Nations Series. Rob Herring comes in as replacement hooker.
The other XV changes see Robbie Henshaw coming in to play outside centre, beside Bundee Aki. Jamison Gibson-Park replaces Conor Murray as starting No.9 while Jimmy O'Brien covers the backline at No.23.
15. Hugo Keenan
14. Mack Hansen
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Jamison Gibson-Park
1. Andrew Porter
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Ryan Baird
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris
Replacements: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Tom O'Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Jimmy O'Brien.
Our Ireland team news live feed has all the big selection talk, reactions and quotes from inside the camp. You can follow it RIGHT HERE:
Johnny Sexton on Grand Slam decider
After the 22-7 win over Scotland, which set up the Grand Slam decider, Ireland captain Johnny Sexton was asked about the prospect of facing England in Dublin with all the big pots on the line. "It would be the stuff of dreams really," he said. "It’s what you grow up wanting to do.
"I don’t know why you grow up wanting to be captain of Ireland, maybe because the players you admire the most were captains, but to do it would be dream-come-true stuff.
"It’s a great group of lads, so to lead them is very special. Who wouldn’t be proud? It’s going to be a big week, there will be lots of hype, plenty of distractions, tickets and family and all that and we need to get down to business and get a big performance."
Ireland face England at Aviva Stadium from 5pm on Saturday, March 18, with Andy Farrell naming his Ireland team on Thursday afternoon, March 16.
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