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Johnny Sexton recalled as Ireland name team with six changes

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Johnny Sexton was given further cause to celebrate this week after he was restored to the Ireland No10 jersey on Thursday when Andy Farrell named a team to play England that shows six changes from the 57-6 round three Guinness Six Nations win over Italy. The veteran Irish skipper agreed to a new deal on Tuesday that will take him through to the 2023 World Cup in France, by which stage he will be aged 38 and ready to retire at the top.

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Now he has retaken the starting out-half berth from Joey Carbery, who had worn the jersey for two consecutive Six Nations matches after Sexton has tweaked a hamstring in the lead-up to the round two game in Paris.

Sexton is one of four changes to the Ireland backline from the win over Italy as Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway and Bundee Aki respectively come in for Michael Lowry, Mack Hansen and Robbie Henshaw at full-back, right wing and inside centre.

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In the pack, the seasoned Cian Healy takes over at loosehead from the injured Andrew Porter while James Ryan returns to the second row in place of Ryan Baird. The back row remains the same from the Azzurri match, Peter O’Mahony holding on at blindside and Caelan Doris chosen again at No8 to keep Lions Test series starter Jack Conan rooted to the bench.

The demoted Carbery and Henshaw will keep Conan company in the replacements, as will the recalled Iain Henderson and Conor Murray, two more of the Warren Gatland’s 2021 Lions tourists. Kieran Treadwell and Craig Casey drop out.

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Ireland team (vs England, Saturday)
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 18 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 29 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 40 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 35 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 10 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 103 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 15 caps
1. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 114 caps
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 5 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 55 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 28 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 42 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 82 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 38 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 15 caps

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Replacements
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 24 caps
17. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 46 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 21 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 66 caps
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 25 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 94 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 30 caps
23. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 55 caps

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