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Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Ringrose's return, Toner over Henderson and more Ireland team talking points

Ringrose's return, Toner over Henderson and more Ireland team talking points

Tadgh Furlong returns against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday after convincing Joe Schmidt he is ready for battle and Leinster centre Garry Ringrose gets his first minutes of the tournament in place of the injured Chris Farrell.

After Scotland's biggest win over England for 32 years, the starting team that had also lined up against France a fortnight earlier is understandably otherwise unchanged once again and Townsend explained that his decision to prefer Kinghorn to the more experienced campaigners he had brought back into the squad this week, had been down to a combination of match fitness and players' strengths.

Ireland narrowly defeated the French in Paris in Round 1, and followed it up with home victories over both Italy and Wales as they seek their first Six Nations title since 2015. Henderson had been tipped to slot straight back into the side but Schmidt has kept faith with his most-selected player in Toner. He'll be trying to keep the minds on what's coming towards Ireland next Saturday. "It also adds a bit of our last 20 or 30 minutes of the game, where an athlete like Iain can come on".

However, county Tyrone-born Farrell then suffered a season-ending knee injury in training last week, which made Ringrose's inclusion for this weekend's game nearly a certainty. Payne has not played since last year's Lions tour to New Zealand, having suffered persistent headaches.

'There's always concerns about players for different reasons, and Garry's only had six games in this entire season, ' said Schmidt.

"He was extraordinary when he played a year ago", Ireland fullback Rob Kearney added. Jordan Larmour is poised to continue his electric rookie season off the bench, replacing Fergus McFadden, and Jordi Murphy's selection means Jack Conan returns to a Leinster side that travels to Llanelli for the rescheduled Pro 14 match.

Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best (capt), Furlong; Ryan, Toner; O'Mahony, Leavy, Stander.

There will be live TV coverage of Saturday's game on TV3.

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