Friday 17 August 2018

Revealed: Joe Schmidt names his starting XV for Wales encounter with two big names missing out

Iain Henderson and Tadhg Furlong have both been ruled out of the game with Wales
Iain Henderson and Tadhg Furlong have both been ruled out of the game with Wales

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Ireland will be without key forwards Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson for Saturday's pivotal Six Nations meeting with Wales.

The duo suffered hamstring injuries in the win over Italy two weeks ago and join Robbie Henshaw on the sidelines for the game having failed to recover in time.

Their absence sees Andrew Porter and James Ryan step into the side, with Chris Farrell replacing Henshaw in the centre. Cian Healy and CJ Stander come in for Jack McGrath and Jack Conan who drop to the bench.

Porter came on for Furlong after just three minutes against the Azzurri and did well, but this is a considerable step up for the 22-year-old who only switched from loosehead to tighthead last season and has made just five senior starts in the position.

Ryan was always expected to come back into the side after overcoming a hip injury, but the absence of Henderson means Devin Toner keeps his place.

The Ulster second-row has been an influential presence for the national team this season, acting as a play-maker at times and he will be a big loss.

Quinn Roux is on the bench, with John Ryan deputising for Porter.

Fergus McFadden replaces Jordan Larmour in the No 23 jersey.

"We are ready to test the strength of our squad and we are always ready to test the strength of our squad," Schmidt said.

"We're short on experience, we're up against a team welcoming back three Lions. It's not ideal, but there's no better place to learn than in that white hot atmosphere.

"We're going to have to demonstrate that we have a strength of squad and we are excited at the prospect of doing that."

More to follow

Ireland team to play Wales: (15-9) Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; (1-8) Cian Healy, Rory Best, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy, CJ Stander.

Replacement: (16-23) Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Fergus McFadden.

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