Jackson keeps place after injury scare
PADDY JACKSON gave the Ireland management an injury scare when he pulled up with a tight hamstring in yesterday's squad session at Carton House.
There was momentary panic when the Ulster out-half complained of feeling some soreness during the session. That was short-lived, though, and the 21-year-old will win his second cap on Saturday evening when he starts against France.
Jackson has held off a late challenge from Leinster's Ian Madigan for the berth and the backline will be unchanged from that which started against Scotland at Murrayfield. Madigan will be on the bench as a replacement if needed, for his first experience of senior international rugby.
Craig Gilroy has been a slight concern after suffering a groin strain against Scotland. He didn't train much last week but after taking part in light training yesterday morning the coaches are confident he will be fit to start against the French.
There are expected to be a couple of changes among the pack for this weekend's game.
After winning his appeal against the length of his suspension, Cian Healy will come back into the team at loosehead alongside Rory Best and his provincial team-mate Mike Ross. Healy missed the loss to Scotland after being suspended for stamping on England's Dan Cole.
He had initially been ruled out of this weekend's game also but the IRFU appealed the terms of the suspension and he resumes in the front-row with Dave Kilcoyne deputising.
Donnacha Ryan, who is suffering from a variety of back complaints, will again play through the pain barrier to lead the line-out from the second-row.
He will be partnered by Connacht's Mike McCarthy, who has recovered from his medial ligament injury, with Munster's Donncha O'Callaghan dropping to the bench.
IRELAND (probable) – R Kearney; C Gilroy, B O'Driscoll, L Marshall, K Earls; P Jackson, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; M McCarthy, D Ryan; P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.