No changes to Ireland team for Welsh game

The team is the same as defeated France last month

BY Daniel Kelly 13:30 Wednesday 8 March 2017, 13:30 8 Mar 2017

The Ireland team train in Carton House on Wednesday. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Marcus Sheridan

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has kept faith with the Ireland team that defeated France last month, for Friday's match against Wales in the Six Nations.

It is the first time, Schmidt has named the same starting 15 for two games in a row in the tournament. Despite returning to the Irish squad this week, there is no place in the match-day squad for Jared Payne.

Rory Best leads the team once more. He is joined in the front-row by the Leinster duo of Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong. In the second-row, Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner keep their places.

The back-row sees Jamie Heaslip pack down in the middle. CJ Stander and Sean O'Brien are on the flanks.

Johnny Sexton starts at fly-half for the second game in a row. Conor Murray joins the Leinster star, at scrum-half.

The back three sees Rob Kearney start at full-back with the Munster duo of Simon Zebo and Keith Earls on the wings. Rob Henshaw and Garry Ringrose continue in the centre.

Tommy Bowe returns to the replacements bench. He has not played in the Six Nations, since Ireland's defeat to Scotland last month in Murrayfield.

On Wednesday morning, Wales named an unchanged team for Friday's match. Flanker Justin Tipuric will earn his 50th cap for the country.

Ireland team and replacements to face Wales:

(15-9): Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Rob Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray.

(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements (16-32): Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Tommy Bowe.

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week