March 22, 2018

Furlong and Henderson miss out as Ireland make five changes

25 February 2018, 07:35 | Randolph Howard

Eddie Jones England side face Scotland on Saturday

Eddie Jones' England side face Scotland on Saturday

Warren Gatland's 100th Test in charge of Wales will taste doubly sweet if it delivers victory over Ireland in what former Irish star Shane Horgan labels the "grudge match of the Six Nations".

"I'd be really confident from a Welsh perspective", Warburton said.

"What is great about him as a coach, though, is he keeps the players interested when he talks to you and when you succeed in doing that you get good performances and success". "

"We feel we can win, but we'll have to play very well to do so."

"Eddie Jones has talked about hunting and going after teams and at the moment I don't think he's really got them to do that, but this Scotland defence could provide that opportunity".

With injury ruling out Lions trio Tadgh Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Iain Henderson, Cian Healy and Andrew Porter will replace Jack McGrath and Furlong in the front row, while James Ryan and CJ Stander come into the pack instead of Henderson and Jack Conan.

Rob Henshaw's shoulder injury has seen Munster centre Farrell selected at outside centre.

During Schmidt's team announcement press conference, he was asked if Ireland's attack had evolved since last season's 21-9 defeat in Cardiff, when Ireland had been kept tryless.

At the post match briefing he stated: "Wales will be a whole different scenario, they play a lot of territory, force you to bring the ball back into a whole line of defenders". It's a game of rugby.

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"His two key guys are No9 and No10 and I think with the two players that are there it fits their game plan very well".

He added: "Do we play slightly differently from two years ago?" "He has that streak in him, which is nice to see, where he knows exactly what he wants".

"Look I think he's entitled to his opinion", said Best.

"Ireland had a hard time against Italy, but came away with the win after defeat to a French team which looks one of the strongest in the competition", he said.

But in more recent times, France's form has fallen off a cliff and Ireland has taken to beating them both home and away. "That's more important than reaching 100 games".

Biggar's right shoulder was injured in a club game on January 20, and he hasn't played since. So, as captain, you need to make sure you reduce the stress levels for everyone else in the squad and make sure everyone else has got what they need because Friday night (at the game) is the most important thing. The noteworthy changes are Chris Farrell starting at outside-centre and Andrew Porter being handed the No 3 shirt.

"He was grand, because he's getting a bit older now he just needed a little bit longer to warm up", said Best with a smile.

Sammy Mc Nally is a Prod fictional character bestowed on us by James Young who accidentally kills his pal, who not suprisingly, given that it is Belfast, is also a Prod. But you can't get any further ahead so it is nice to get another box ticked.

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