Worst possible news as Ireland forced into risky change 4 years ago

Worst possible news as Ireland forced into risky change

So now we know what we are facing and who we are facing it with.

Despite the best poker face he could manage, at Friday's Irish Captain's Run, Andy Farrell had some job convincing us that both Sean O'Brien and Jared Payne would be fit to face Australia.


'Lower limb tweaks' was the po-faced assessment by Farrell but the fact that O'Brien did not even make it for the team photo for this evening's game bode less than well.

The Ireland squad line up for the team photograph 25/11/2016

The IRFU kept their cards tightly clutched until the last possible moment but the news was officially confirmed just over 90 minutes before kick-off at the Aviva Stadium.

The good news is Payne - banged up as he may be - is starting at outside centre. He has some bad bruising around his calves and upper thigh but he is going to grit his teeth and play on. remember, this is a man that played 50 minutes against France, in February, with a torn hamstring.

The bad news is O'Brien is missing out on the fun. The Leinster flanker will be gutted to sit on the sidelines as David Pocock and Michael Hooper set out to disrupt as much breakdown ball as in (in)humanly possible.

O'Brien's No.7 jersey goes to Josh van der Flier with Munster captain Peter O'Mahony now on the bench.


Going with four-cap van der Flier over O'Mahony, who has looked close to his furious best for Munster in recent weeks, is somewhat of a risk but many will point to the 23-year-old's abrasive performances off the bench in both All Blacks games.

Concussion worries Rob Kearney and Simon Zebo have been deemed fit to take their respective fullback and backline replacement roles.


15. Rob Kearney
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Jared Payne
12. Garry Ringrose
11. Keith Earls
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Conor Murray


1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best (c)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Iain Henderson
6. CJ Stander
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements: S Cronin, Healy, Bealham, Dillane, O'Mahony, Marmion, Carbery, Zebo.

Dick Clerkin makes his GAA Hour debut to talk about a wonderful career and argue passionately with Colm Parkinson over Sky Sports GAA. Subscribe here on iTunes.