Rugby

Joe Schmidt Explains Changes To Ireland Team To Play Scotland

Joe Schmidt Explains Changes To Ireland Team To Play Scotland

Joe Schmidt has made five changes to Ireland team which will play Scotland this weekend from the one which lost to England last weekend.

Four of those changes were forced by injuries. Robbie Henshaw is replaced at fullback by Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose at centre by Chris Farrell, CJ Stander at number eight by Jack Conan and Devin Toner in the second row by Quinn Roux.

Sean O'Brien taking Josh van der Flier's place at openside is the only switch not forced by injury.

"Robbie's got a dead leg and it hasn't recovered sufficiently," explained Schmidt.

We're just going to have to forge ahead. It's a pretty exciting opportunity to give Chris Farrell to play against Scotland. He stepped in only was last year [in the Six Nations], got Man of the Match [vs Wales]. He's a guy coming back to form after the long layoff he's had.

Schmidt said that Henshaw's injury was a combination of damage sustained during the defeat to England and also in training

"It was just a bit of aggravation after having a knock on top of a knock and a little bit of dead leg bleeding. The problem is, he maybe could have played, but if you get another bump on it, it debilitates quickly and maybe you have to make an early change.

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"At the same time, you've got Chris Farrell waiting in the wings, massively motivated."

The decision to reinstate Rob Kearney to the starting line-up was taken once Garry Ringrose was ruled out during the week due to a hamstring problem. It suggests that had he not picked an injury, Robbie Henshaw would have played at centre.

"It was going to be about keeping a little bit of continuity as best we can from past campaigns and trying to get as cohesive as we can in a short period of time," Schmidt said about the decision to play Kearney. "We didn't have the cohesion we would like to have had last weekend."

Regarding lineout calls, Schmidt said that Quinn Roux will share the responsibility for them with Peter O'Mahony.

"Quinn came on and did it when he replaced Dev [against England]. I have no qualms about Quinn being able to call the lineout. He has done it for us a lot in training and he has done it in Connacht this season."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: Farrell's Revealing Ref Conversation And How England Took Away Ireland's Crucial Weapon

PJ Browne
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