Joe Schmidt Names Ireland Team For Pivotal Wales Clash In Cardiff

Ross Houston
March 16, 2019

Needing to defeat Wales in Cardiff and hope for England's clash with Scotland to go in their favour, the Ireland team are up against it as they attempt to retain their Six Nations crown on the final day.

Sean O'Brien slots in at openside flanker after a knock to Josh van der Flier early in the French game forced him off. Jack Conan who made a strong impact off the bench against the French once again provides back row cover on the bench.

This will also be the final Six Nations appearance for Rory Best and Ireland will be hoping to give him a flawless send-off.

Ireland are without lock Iain Henderson for Saturday's Six Nations showdown against Wales in Cardiff.

"He probably would have liked to have had a bit more game time leading into it but it's just a case of slotting people in", said Schmidt. 'If it was me, I'd be concentrating on playing Scotland. "We've got an opportunity to show that we're the best team in the Six Nations and approaching the best team in the world and we're not going to miss that opportunity".

O'Brien's fellow veteran full-back Rob Kearney has recovered from a calf injury, which ruled him out on the morning of the France game, to return and his dependability under the high ball will be crucial.

Gatland, meanwhile, readily acknowledges Ireland's threat, particularly the one presented by their British and Irish Lions half-backs Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.

Scrum-half Kieran Marmion may get his first taste of Six Nations action this year off the bench, with Jack Carty and Jordan Larmour covering the rest of the backline. Dave Kilcoyne 18. Andrew Porter 19.

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