Ireland make three changes for France game

Rob and Dave Kearney along with Sean O'Brien return to the team

BY Daniel Kelly 12:51 Thursday 11 February 2016, 12:51 11 Feb 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named his Ireland team to face France on Saturday in Paris.

In a similar move to Guy Noves, who made six changes to his France side, Schmidt welcomes three new players into the starting fifteen from last week's draw against Wales.

Rob Kearney returns at fullback after missing the Six Nations opener against Wales due to injury. Simon Zebo failed to make the bench.

Dave Kearney starts his first game of the 2016 Six Nations. He replaces Keith Earls on the wing with Andrew Trimble keeping his place on the other.

Jared Payne and Rob Henshaw combine in the centre as the due start their seventh Six Nations game in a row. Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray also retain their half-back partnership.

In the forwards, the front five are unchanged.  Rory Best captains the side and is joined by Jack McGrath and Nathan White in the front row. Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy form an all-Leinster partnership in the second row.

Sean O'Brien has recovered to return to the pack. The Carlow forward missed last week's game against Wales. O'Brien joins Jamie Heaslip and CJ Stander in the back row.

There are also changes on the bench. Richardt Strauss joins the squad and looks set to make his first Six Nations appearance,  over three years after his debut. Eoin Reddan and Fergus McFadden also take their places on the bench for the first time this season.

Ireland team to face France:

(15-9): Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Rob Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray.

(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rory Best (capt), Nathan White, Mike mcCarthy, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements (16-23): Richardt Strauss, James Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O'Donnell, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden.


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