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Fitzgerald And Healy Return For Ireland

Fitzgerald And Healy Return For Ireland

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made two changes to the team for the final game of the RBS 6 Nations Championship against Scotland at BT Murrayfield on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Luke Fitzgerald replaces Simon Zebo on the left wing and Cian Healy, who made his 50th Ireland appearance against Wales, comes in for Jack McGrath at loosehead prop. 
Captain Paul O’Connell continues his second row partnership with Devin Toner with Healy’s inclusion the only change to the front five as both Mike Ross and Rory Best are retained. The back row is unchanged with number 8 Jamie Heaslip flanked by Peter O’Mahony and Sean O’Brien.
Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton are paired at half-back once more and the centre combination of Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne link up for the sixth time in midfield.

The recalled Fitzgerald, who will start for the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up game against France in Bordeaux, joins Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe in the back-three.
McGrath takes a spot on the replacements bench which also includes Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan and Felix Jones.   

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Commenting on the changes, Joe Schmidt said: “Probably with Simon (Zebo), he started the last nine Test matches for us and he’s played throughout the Six Nations for us and he’s just showing signs of wear and tear. He’s got a few niggles.

“We just wanted to have somebody that’s at 100% (Fitzgerald), as opposed to someone who has fitted in really well, has worked incredibly hard on their game, but is just starting to show those signs of wear and tear.

“It’s a little bit the same with Jack (McGrath). I think Jack has been superb for us, but it’s an opportunity for Cian probably as much as anything to have a little more training time with the team.

“I think if you’re forever coming off the bench, you don’t get as much time in the team and so just for Cian to get comfortable in the week because he and Jack have shared a bit of time in the last two matches anyway.”

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Scotland, 2015 RBS 6 Nations Championship, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Saturday, March 21, kick-off 2.30pm):
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
13. Jared Payne (Ulster)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
11. Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster) 
10. Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
5. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
7. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
18. Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)
19. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
20. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
23. Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)