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Published: 10:36 | 23/6/16

Stander returns as Schmidt makes changes

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made five changes to his team for Saturday's third and final Test against South Africa.

Schmidt has reverted to the pack that defeated the Springboks in the opening Test with CJ Stander returning to the starting XV after serving a one-match suspension.

Stander, who was sent off during the opening win, takes his place in the back row alongside Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip and his return means Iain Henderson reverts to the second row where he will lock down with Devin Toner.

Mike Ross, meanwhile, comes back into the front row alongside Rory Best and Jack McGrath.

The Ireland coaching team have been sweating over the fitness of Jared Payne ahead of the third Test and the Ulster man has been ruled out through injury.

Payne's absence paves the way for Tiernan O'Halloran to come into the starting XV as Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls start on the wings.

Robbie Henshaw has returned to Ireland with a knee injury and as a result Stuart Olding and Luke Marshall get the nod in the centre as Conor Murray and Paddy Jackson continue their partnership in the half-back line.

Ireland (XV v South Africa): T O'Halloran; A Trimble, L Marshall, S Olding, K Earls; P Jackson, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross, I Henderson, D Toner, CJ Stander, J Murphy, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, F Bealham, T Furlong, U Dillane, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, M Healy.

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Jonathan Sexton has been confirmed fit to play against France in this Saturday's Six Nations clash at Lansdowne Road.

Ireland to play USA in New Jersey

12:40 | 21/2/17

The IRFU have confirmed that Ireland will play the USA in New Jersey in June.

Bastareaud out of Ireland clash

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Mathieu Bastareaud has been ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations clash with Ireland because of concussion.

Woodward calls for Six Nations relegation

11:52 | 21/2/17

Former England head coach Clive Woodward has called for the introduction of promotion and relegation to the Six Nations tournament.

Keane named Connacht head coach

18:37 | 20/2/17

Former All Black Kieran Keane will join Connacht as head coach ahead of the 2017-18 season.

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