Revealed - Tommy Bowe on bench as Schmidt keeps faith with starting XV for Wales
Joe Schmidt has recalled Tommy Bowe to his bench for the penultimate Six Nations game against Wales on Friday.
The Ulster wing was left out of the initial 36-man squad for Rounds five and six of the Championship, but was called in as a replacement when Andrew Trimble was ruled out on Sunday.
Bowe (33) came off the bench against Scotland but struggled to make an impact and afterwards former Ireland winger Shane Horgan described the decision to select the 68-times capped star a “nostalgia call”.
The second highest try-scorer in Irish history, Bowe has endured a terrible run of injuries in recent seasons. Apart from a pair of tries against Romania at the 2015 World Cup, his last try for Ireland was against Australia in November 2014.
He leap-frogs Craig Gilroy – scorer of a hat-trick against Italy – and Andrew Conway who was the 24th man, while Jared Payne’s bruising keeps him out of the matchday 23.
Otherwise, it’s as you were for Ireland who retain 22 players from the squad that beat France two weeks ago.
Rob Kearney has overcome his groin strain to start at full-back, with Keith Earls and Simon Zebo on the wings.
Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw continue in the centre, with Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray partnering up at out-half.
Up front, Schmidt has resisted the temptation to rotate Jack McGrath and Cian Healy, with Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong continuing alongside McGrath in the front-row, with Devin Toner and Donnacha Ryan together in the engine room.
Once again, Peter O’Mahony remains in reserve as the dynamic trio of CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip retain their places in the back-row.
Meanwhile, Wales have also named an unchanged team for Friday night's clash at the Millennium Stadium.
Ireland team to face Wales: (15-9) R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; (1-8) J McGrath, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Ryan, D Toner; CJ Stander, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.
Reps: (16-23) N Scannell, C Healy, J Ryan, I Henderson, P O’Mahony, K Marmion, P Jackson, T Bowe.