Paddy Jackson wins fitness battle to start against France
IRELAND will start with Paddy Jackson at fly-half for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with France at the Aviva Stadium.
Jackson has passed a fitness test on the minor hamstring strain sustained during training on Monday, enabling him to continue in the number 10 jersey with Ian Madigan offering cover from the bench.
Team manager Mick Kearney has also revealed that Munster prop Stephen Archer will fill the third vacancy left in the team that was announced on Tuesday after being selected on the bench.
Jackson, 21, will be winning his second cap in Saturday's must-win showdown between the two biggest flops of this year's Six Nations, while Madigan will make his debut if he steps off the bench.
"Paddy kicked in the Aviva Stadium yesterday and kicked well and trained fully this morning," Kearney said.
"Paddy's hamstring first tightened up after Monday's session so there was a bit of concern about him.
"He sat out the session on Tuesday, received treatment and did some light running in the afternoon.
"He then came through kicking at the Aviva Stadium yesterday afternoon very well, so that clarified things for us, but up until then there was some small doubt.
"There was no discomfort this morning so he'll be fine."
Ireland team: R Kearney (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).
Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Archer (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), I Madigan (Leinster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster).