Andy Farrell has reacted to the unimpressive Ireland win last Sunday over Georgia by changing six of his starting side to face Scotland in this Saturday’s third-place Autumn Nations Cup playoff in Dublin.
Ireland stuttered for second-half momentum versus the Georgians, winning only 23-10 and leaving their coach dissatisfied with what he had seen. He has now taken remedial action with his fourth Nations Cup selection and his sixth match in recent weeks.
Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw return at midfield, with Henshaw at No13, in the hope that they will go better than Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey.
The third backline change sees fit-again skipper Johnny Sexton reinstated at out-half and he will resume his experienced partnership with Conor Murray.
The three changes in the starting pack begin with Cian Healy’s restoration at loosehead in place of Finlay Bealham, who had difficulty coping with the Georgian scrum.
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Head Coach Andy Farrell has named his Match Day 23 for Saturday's #GuinnessSeries game against Scotland at @AVIVAStadium, including the uncapped Eric O'Sullivan ?#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #AutumnNationsCup #IREvSCO pic.twitter.com/qjmQ8jJlMa
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) December 3, 2020
In the back row, Peter O’Mahony and Caelan Doris come back in for Tadhg Beirne and Will Connors, joining CJ Stander who will pack down at blindside having been at No8 last weekend.
The big bench news is the call-up for uncapped loosehead Eric O’Sullivan of Ulster. He is joined in the replacements by Ronan Kelleher, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne and Farrell.
IRELAND (vs Scotland, Saturday)
15. Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 32
14. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 5
13. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 46
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 29
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 87
10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster 94 Captain
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 86
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 103
2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 15
3. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 31
4. Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 57
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 31
6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 45
7. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 72
8. Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 6
16. Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 5
17. Eric O’Sullivan (Banbridge/Ulster) Uncapped
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 22
19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 15
20. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 27
21. Jamison Gibson-Park ( Leinster) 4
22. Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 10
23. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 13.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 3, 2020
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