Sunday 22 October 2017

Cian Healy and Donnacha Ryan return to Ireland side to face Italy

Cian Healy of Ireland during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cian Healy of Ireland during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnacha Ryan of Ireland during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Joe Schmidt has largely shown faith in the side that lost in Murrayfield last weekend as he has made just two changes to his Ireland starting XV to play Italy on Saturday.

Cian Healy has been rewarded for his return to form in recent months with a start ahead of his Leinster team-mate Jack McGrath, while Donnacha Ryan has been restored to the second-row.

Ryan missed last week's game with Schmidt citing an injury for his absence but he was in Scotland as 24th man. The Tipperary native has been outstanding for Munster this season and was desperately missed last weekend.

Garry Ringrose renews his centre partnership with Robbie Henshaw, with Paddy Jackson again at out-half.

Healy comes into the front-row alongside captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong who has shaken off a shoulder problem to start. CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip again make up the back-row

Elsewhere on the bench, Ultan Dillane keeps his place in the match day squad at the expense of Iain Henderson who pays the price for his poor outing. Tommy Bowe is also left out which means that Craig Gilroy is in line to win his 10th cap.

Munster hooker Niall Scannell will hope to make his international debut with Ian Keatley again covering out-half.

Ireland – R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, S Zebo; P Jackson, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Toner, D Ryan; CJ Stander, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Reps: R Scannell, J McGrath, J Ryan, U Dillane, J Van der Flier, K Marmion, I Keatley, C Gilroy.

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