The Likely Ireland Team To Take On Wales Next Weekend
Ireland take on Wales this day next week in the Six Nations, hoping they can retain their unbeaten record in the championship so far this season.
With both Ulster and Connacht in action last night, and Munster and Leinster with fixtures still to come later today, we have a fair idea of what squad Schmidt will go with on Saturday, based on the players he has retained.
Up first in the backline we don’t expect any changes here bar a forced one in the centre. Munster’s Chris Farrell is in line to replace the injured Robbie Henshaw, with the Wales game perhaps coming a week too early for Leinster’s Garry Ringrose.
Ringrose has not been included in Leinster’s squad to take on Scarlets this afternoon, so a return against the Kings next week seems his likeliest route back to match fitness. Should he come through there unscathed, expect him to be considered for the Scotland game.
In the forwards, we expect Schmidt to revert back to his pack that took on the French, bar of course Dan Leavy. Josh van der Flier started that game, but Leavy came in to replace him and has done an excellent job ever since.
Sean O’Brien is around a week behind Garry Ringrose in terms of getting back to full fitness. The Kings game may be a realistic target for him, if not he could easily slot straight back in for the Scotland game.
On the bench expect Andrew Porter to get the nod over John Ryan after his impressive display against Italy. Niall Scannell is also set to get the nod over Sean Cronin. Scannell trained this week with Ireland, while Cronin starts for Leinster today.
Andrew Conway is still struggling with an injury, and with Larmour starting for Leinster, McFadden looks set to come back onto the replacement bench. In terms of the replacement nine, it’s a 50/50 call between McGrath and Marmion.
Predicted Ireland team vs Wales
15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Chris Farrell
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (Captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Iain Henderson
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Dan Leavy
8. CJ Stander
16. Niall Scannell
17. Jack McGrath
18. Andrew Porter
19. Devin Toner
20. Jack Conan
21. Kieran Marmion/Luke McGrath
22. Joey Carbery
23. Fergus McFadden