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Published: 09:30 | 7/2/19

Kearney and O'Brien start, Henshaw ruled out


Joe Schmidt has made five changes to his Ireland starting XV to face Scotland as he looks to bounce back from the opening Guinness Six Nations defeat to England.

Having already lost Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Devin Toner for the trip to BT Murrayfield as a result of injuries they sustained in the 32-20 loss at the Aviva Stadium last weekend, the team were dealt another blow on Thursday when Robbie Henshaw was ruled out.

Henshaw had started at full-back against England but he had been expected to replace Garry Ringrose at outside centre but he will miss the game due to a dead leg. It means Chris Farrell comes in for just his fourth cap to start alongside Bundee Aki in midfield.

Keith Earls aggravated a hip problem during the bruising defeat but he has been passed fit and will once again start on the wing.

Having missed out on the matchday 23 last weekend, Rob Kearney returns to start at full-back, with Jacob Stockdale completing the back three.

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray team up in the half-backs.

There is no change to the front row as captain Rory Best will be joined by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong, while Quinn Roux replaces Toner in the second row alongside James Ryan.

Sean O'Brien is named in the back row with Josh van der Flier dropping to the bench, while Jack Conan starts at number 8 in place at Stander. Peter O'Mahony completes the back row.

Ireland (XV v Scotland): R Kearney; K Earls, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, T Furlong; Q Roux, J Ryan; P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, J Conan.

Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, A Porter, U Dillane, J Van Der Flier, J Cooney, J Carbery, J Larmour.

Meanwhile, Scotland have made four changes from the side that defeated Italy for Saturday's clash.

Blair Kinghorn scored three tries for Scotland last weekend but he drops down to the bench as Sean Maitland makes his return from injury on the wing.

Stuart Hogg is retained at full-back with Tommy Seymour joining him in the back row. Huw Jones and Sam Johnson team-up in the centre, while Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw are the half-back partnership.

Prop Simon Berghan comes into the front row to replace the injured Willen Nel alongside Allan Dell and Stuart McInally.

In the second row, Jonny Gray has recovered from a shoulder injury to take his place in the starting XV at the expense of Ben Toolis. Grady will join Grant Gilchrist in the engine room.

Ryan Wilson and Jamie Ritchie are retained in the back row while Josh Strauss comes in for Sam Skinner, who has also been ruled out through injury, at number 8.

Scotland (XV v Ireland): S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones, S Johnson, S Maitland, S Maitland; F Russell, G Laidlaw; A Dell, S McInally, S Berghan, G Gilchrist, J Gray, R Wilson, J Ritchie, J Strauss.

Replacements: F Brown, J Bhatti, D Rae, B Toolis, R Harley, A Price, P Horne, B Kinghorn.  

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Image: Inpho Photography/Billy Stickland

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