One Ireland selection for Scottish game takes everyone by surprise 4 years ago

One Ireland selection for Scottish game takes everyone by surprise

With injuries in key positions and fierce competition for places, this was always going to be an interesting team announcement.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named a strong Ireland team to face Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations opener.

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As expected, Paddy Jackson starts at outhalf in place of the injured Johnny Sexton. He will be partnered by Conor Murray at scrum-half.

Sean O'Brien has got the jump on Josh van der Flier in the openside role and will pack down with CJ Stander and Jamie Heaslip. The other big calls sees Munster's Keith Earls take up the right wing position and Ian Henderson edge out Donnacha Ryan in the second row battle.

No-one predicted Henderson starting against the Scots and Schmidt showed his complete faith in the Ulster forward by sitting alongside him at the top table announcement at Carton House.

Elsewhere, and excitingly, Robbie Henshaw has been paired with Garry Ringrose in an Irish midfield for the first time.

On the bench, Ultan Dillane gets in ahead of Ryan. Munster's Niall Scannell and John Ryan are front row replacements, along with Cian Healy of Leinster.

Kieran Marmion and Ian Keatley are also on the bench and there is a welcome return for Ulster winger Tommy Bowe.

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IRELAND XV

15. R Kearney
14. Earls
13. Ringrose
12. Henshaw
11. Zebo
10. Jackson
9 Murray

1. McGrath
2. Best (c)
3. Furlong
4. Toner
5. Henderson
6. Stander
7. O'Brien
8. Heaslip

Replacements: Healy, N Scannell, Ryan, Dillane, van der Flier, Marmion, Keatley, Bowe.