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14th Mar 2024

Ireland team vs. Scotland: Andy Farrell makes statement with XV for Six Nations decider

Patrick McCarry

Ireland team

The Grand Slam is gone but a fourth title in six years is still up for grabs.

Andy Farrell made an emphatic statement with his Ireland team to face Scotland in Saturday’s Six Nations decider in Dublin.

Farrell confirmed his Ireland team selection on Thursday ahead of the Saturday afternoon, March 16 (4:45pm kick-off) match at Aviva Stadium. Ireland are four points clear of England, their nearest title challengers while France and Scotland are in the long, long-shot category.


15. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)(39)

14. Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)(5)

13. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)(71)

12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)(55)

11. James Lowe (Leinster)(30)

10. Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)(13)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)(34)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)(63)

2. Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)(25)

3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)(75)

4. Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)(9)

5. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)(49)

6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)(104)

7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)(61)

8. Caelan Doris (St Mary’s College/Leinster)(40)

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Harry Byrne, Garry Ringrose.

Ireland are three from four in the 2024 Six Nations are thrashing France, Italy and Wales in their opening fixtures then slipping up to England, at Twickenham. Standing in Ireland’s way of back-to-back titles are Gregor Townsend’s Scotland, who have beaten England and Wales but lost to France and Italy.

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Ireland team

Andy Farrell backs his Ireland team to finish on a high

Following the last-gasp loss to England, at Twickenham, Andy Farrell was asked how his Ireland team would bounce back. When one reporter suggested the finale, on ‘Super Saturday’, could be an anti-climax, the Ireland coach replied:

“Anti-climax? How many times have we won the Six Nations?

“Everyone would love to be in our position. We’ve got to make sure we’re loving that challenge as well.

“I’ve absolutely no doubt that they (Ireland supporters) 100% will be on song. Paddy’s weekend again, with the chance of winning a Six Nations. It could have been a little bit better but Grand Slams are unbelievably hard to come by. Six Nations are hard enough, as everyone would vouch for.”

The big injury concerns centre around Calvin Nash and Ciáran Frawley, who both picked up concussive knocks against England. James Ryan (bicep injury) was ruled out of the remainder of the championship, days out from that defeat to Steve Borthwick’s side.

There will be lots of talk, again, about whether Ireland will go with a 5:3 bench split or a forwards heavy 6:2. Asked about selecting just two backs for the England and France games, Farrell told reporters, “Well, you’re damned if you do [and damned if you don’t].

“No, it’s the best thing since sliced bread when it goes well for you, isn’t it?” I mean, yeah, it’s just rugby, isn’t it? You go with a 5:3 bench and you can run out of backs very quickly, depending on what you’ve got cover-wise. It’s not a factor for me, I mean it’s just the game.

“Sometimes you can be unlucky. I mean Calvin coming out and hitting the guy, they scored the try on the back of that and then ‘Frawls’ comes on for him and, again, he was under the weather for the other try. It was costly enough periods, but it’s not the reason why we lost the game.”


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