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O’Mahony set for England recall and Lowe likely to retain place on wing

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Peter O'Mahony is set to return against England from the bench on Saturday. Photo: Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Peter O'Mahony is set to return against England from the bench on Saturday. Photo: Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Peter O'Mahony is set to return against England from the bench on Saturday. Photo: Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Andy Farrell is expected to bring Peter O’Mahony back into the Ireland team to face England on Saturday.

The Munster captain is available again after serving the three-match ban he received for his red card against Scotland.

His return at blindside would see Tadhg Beirne switch to second-row to replace James Ryan who misses out with a head injury as Ryan Baird remains on the bench.

The coach has big calls behind the scrum as he prepares to name his team after today’s training session.

With Garry Ringrose out with an ankle injury, Chris Farrell and Bundee Aki are vying for a spot in the centre to partner Robbie Henshaw. While Aki is the more established operator, his inclusion would necessitate a positional switch for the in-form Leinsterman and that may hand Munster’s Farrell the edge.

Otherwise, the coach is expected to stick closely to the side that beat Scotland last weekend which could mean James Lowe is retained in the back-three despite his poor performance at Murrayfield.

Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour are pushing for inclusion on the wing, but Farrell may keep faith with the Kiwi No 11 and hope for a big response against England.

Given the six-day turnaround from last week’s win, he could look at freshening up his front-row by bringing in Dave Kilcoyne or Ronan Kelleher but the importance of the set-piece means he’s likely to stick with Cian Healy and Rob Herring alongside Tadhg Furlong.

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Iain Henderson will partner Beirne, with O’Mahony joining Will Connors and CJ Stander in the back-row. Farrell is likely to resist calls to recall Conor Murray and stick with Jamison Gibson-Park to partner Johnny Sexton, while Hugo Keenan and Keith Earls will be in the back-three.

Certainly, England are anticipating O’Mahony’s return and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said his inclusion will compensate for the loss of the influential Ryan.

"Losing any player like that is massive but they have Peter O'Mahony back so it's a little bit of like for like," he said. "Tadhg Beirne might shift into the second-row and O'Mahony might slip on to the side of the scrum.

"He (Ryan) was superb against Scotland, he really picked their lineout to piece. It's a big loss but they'll take it in their stride.

"O'Mahony is pretty similar to Tadhg Beirne – a pretty high work rate, a great defensive players, very good in the line-out, a line-out contesting player, intelligent, leadership. There's a lot there to admire in what the Munster captain brings to the Irish team."


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