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19th Mar 2015

Reports: Ireland to make two changes for trip to Murrayfield

Simon Zebo and Jack McGrath look set to make way

Neil Treacy

The fall-out from Ireland’s defeat to Wales has claimed the starting spots of two players it seems.

The Irish Times and Irish Independent are reporting this morning that head-coach Joe Schmidt will be making a couple of changes for this weekend’s visit to Edinburgh, with Jack McGrath and Simon Zebo missing out.

The papers say Schmidt will draft in Cian Healy to the front row for Saturday’s match, with Luke Fitzgerald getting the nod on the wing in favour of Zebo.

For Fitzgerald, it’s a return to test rugby for the first time in almost 18 months, his last appearance coming in the defeat to the All-Blacks at the Aviva Stadium in 2013.

Despite being run in the centre by Leinster in recent months, many have been calling for either him or Keith Earls to be given a chance on the wing for Ireland in recent weeks, and he looks set to replace Zebo in the number 11 shirt this weekend.

Healy hasn’t started a test match for Ireland since the title-cinching win in Paris 12 months ago, after a hamstring tear gave McGrath a chance to lock down the starting loose-head position.

McGrath has been one of Ireland’s most consistent performers this championship, but did concede a careless first half scrum penalty against the Welsh for wheeling the scrum.

While Healy also looked rusty when introduced against Cardiff, Schmidt will hand him his 51st test cap, where he will be up against an experienced campaigner in Scotland’s Euan Murray.

The team for Saturday’s game in Murrayfield will be announced by Schmidt this afternoon.

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