5 Talking Points As Ireland Team Named To Face Wales

Round three.

Joe Schmidt earlier this afternoon named his Ireland team for this weekend’s crucial clash with Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The Ireland head coach has made five changes in total to the side that beat Italy a fortnight ago. In comes Andrew Porter, Cian Healy and Devin Toner to the tight-five. Out goes the Furlong, McGrath and Henderson.

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In the back-row, CJ Stander is restored ahead of Jack Conan, while Chris Farrell will replace the injured Robbie Henshaw.

Here are five talking points following the announcement.

Tadhg Furlong is out.
A huge blow here for Ireland. Andrew Porter did very well when he came on against Italy, but Wales is a different story. Their front-row looks good this year, and losing arguably the best tighthead in the world is massive. A lot of pressure now falls on Porter, and even John Ryan off the bench. Can they do a job? We certainly hope so.

One week too soon for Henderson.
Another big blow here. Toner has not looked good this season, and Henderson was just finding form. He’s one of three Lions Ireland are without this weekend. In contrast Wales are welcoming back three. Toner really needs to step up. Not just in the line-out, but in the loose too. Losing Henderson also puts more pressure on the back-row for Ireland.

Healy back in ahead of McGrath.
Jack McGrath once again drops to the bench, despite an excellent showing against Italy. Healy though, offers more in terms of ball-carrying. And with Henderson out, it’s the right choice. Having McGrath and Ryan coming off the bench is a guaranteed solid scrum platform. This could be crucial in closing the game out in Dublin.

No Andrew Conway.
The Munster back was back in training with the Irish Camp this week. But it appears he’s either not quite match ready, or Schmidt wants to be safe in selecting Fergus McFadden. The Leinster winger has been good this season, but he doesn’t offer much as an impact player. Conway meanwhile offers pace, and an is excellent under the high ball. If Ireland are chasing the game with 20 minutes to go, you’d be slightly worried.

Quinn Roux over Dillane.
Ultan Dillane was unavailable for selection for the Italy game due to the untimely passing of his mother. He’s available this weekend though, but Schmidt instead went with Quinn Roux. Dillane will instead play for Connacht this weekend. Again you’d be slightly worried here if there’s an injury in the second-row department. Roux simply isn’t an international standard player. Oh to have Tadhg Beirne this weekend against the Welsh.