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Late disruption for Ireland as Robbie Henshaw ruled out versus Boks

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

Andy Farrell’s best-laid plans ahead of Saturday’s Ireland match with the Springboks in Dublin have encountered a bump in the road with the withdrawal on Friday of Robbie Henshaw from the starting lineup.

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Henshaw had been named in the starting team on Thursday, getting chosen at No12 alongside Garry Ringrose who was included as one of the three changes from the win over the All Blacks in the previous Ireland match in July.

However, that midfield has since been reshuffled again as a hamstring injury has gotten the better of Henshaw and his place has now gone to Stuart McCloskey, who had been named as the 23rd man in the original team selection.

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The Ulster centre has won just six caps in his truncated international career since debuting alongside Henshaw against England in the Six Nations in February 2016. His last cap came in July 2021 against the USA in Dublin, although he travelled with Ireland to New Zealand in July this year and featured in the A team versus the Maori All Blacks.

The promotion of McCloskey into the starting lineup has resulted in the inclusion of the soon-to-be 26-year-old Leinster back Jimmy O’Brien among the replacements. Like McCloskey, he also featured for the A team against the Maoris in July but a run off the Aviva Stadium bench this Saturday would see him win a debut cap at Test level.

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An Ireland Rugby tweet read: “Robbie Henshaw has been unfortunately ruled out of tomorrow’s game through injury. Stuart McCloskey comes into the starting team, with Jimmy O’Brien named on the bench.”

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