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Published: 10:28 | 20/2/16

Schmidt ready to ring changes


Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is likely to bring in a host of new faces for the remainder of the Six Nations campaign.

Stuart McCloskey, Josh van der Flier and Ultan Dillane took part in Friday's open training session, and the New Zealander hinted that the trio are in his plans for the upcoming Six Nations matches.

Sean O'Brien (hamstring), Dave Kearney (shoulder) and Mike McCarthy (concussion) have been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, but Jonny Sexton is likely to be fit for the clash against England at Twickenham next Saturday following an ankle injury.

"I think you will see guys over the next three games that you probably haven't seen in the tournament so far," Schmidt said.

"I don't know which of the games or which number of the games but I think the last two Six Nations we have been hanging in tooth and nail fighting for the wins that we needed or the differential that we needed."

Schmidt accepts that Ireland don't have a "realistic" chance of winning this year's tournament, having secured just one point from their opening two matches, following a home draw with Wales and last week's defeat to France in Paris.

"We haven't been in this position where mathematically we are in with a chance but realistically the chance is a long shot where we actually get a window of opportunity to maybe blood a few new guys and chase results at the same time," he continued.

"I don't think it is going to change our outlook in what we want to achieve but it is going to give us an opportunity to maybe look at a few guys like the big fella (McCloskey) there and a few others."

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