Saturday 18 November 2017

Jordi Murphy in for Jamie Heaslip as Joe Schmidt sticks to tried and trusted formula

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made just one change to his team for Sunday's Six Nations showdown against England.

As reported in this morning's Irish Independent, Leinster back-row Jordi Murphy comes in for injured No8 Jamie Heaslip to reprise the role he performed so well in the opening game of the Championship in Rome, while otherwise it's a case of as you were.

Jack McGrath holds on to the No1 jersey despite the claims of fit-again Cian Healy who must make do with an impact role off the bench.

Eoin Reddan is restored to the list of replacements after overcoming his hamstring injury and proving his fitness for Leinster last weekend, while Felix Jones remains an option despite pressure from Luke Fitzgerald who misses out yet again.

While the starting XV is vastly experienced with captain Paul O'Connell edging closer to his 100th cap, there is plenty of fire-power on the bench where Healy, Sean Cronin and Iain Henderson pack a punch, while Tommy O'Donnell has gotten over his concussion in time to wear the No20 shirt.

England named their team this morning, with Alex Goode and Jack Nowell coming in for Mike Brown and Jonny May.

Ireland team to face England: R Kearney, T Bowe, J Payne, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O'Connell (capt); P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, J Murphy.

Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, M Moore, I Henderson, T O'Donnell, E Reddan, I Madigan, F Jones.

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