5 Talking Points As Ireland Team Named For Grand Slam Clash With England

History awaits…

Head coach Joe Schmidt has named his Ireland team for this weekend’s Grand Slam showdown with old rivals England at Twickenham.

The Ireland boss has made just the one change to his side with Iain Henderson starting ahead of Devin Toner who drops to the bench. Eddie Jones meanwhile has made sweeping changes to his England team, with no fewer than seven changes.

Here are five talking points following Schmidt’s announcement.

Henderson returns.
The Lions lock was dropped for the win against Scotland last week, despite being fully fit. A good move here by Schmidt restoring him to the starting line-up. If Ireland want to win this game, they have to come straight out of the blocks and put pressure on England up front. No point in keeping Henderson on the bench as an explosive option late on. Toner can then hopefully come on to see the game out, and control the line-out in the closing stages.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Schmidt has named an unchanged backline and rightly so. All seven were superb against Scotland. Schmidt has found a winning formula and is has been building momentum nicely all along.

Larmour retains his spot on the bench.
Interesting move here from Schmidt. Most people expected him to bring back in his “safe” option in Fergus McFadden for a game of this magnitude. But instead he’s gone for Leinster prodigy. Huge game for the youngster. Can he make an impact?

Jordi Murphy rewarded.
The Leinster flanker was a surprise choice over Jack Conan last week, but a justified one. He was superb when he came on, especially in his carries, an area he’s not normally known for. Hopefully he can have a similar impact this weekend.

No late withdrawals.
There were some whispers during the week of Rob Kearney missing the game, but thankfully he’s been passed fit. Ireland have been hit by last-minute injuries on a number of occasions in recent years, ahead of some huge games. But it seems the stars are finally aligning for Schmidt and his team. All signs point towards a Grand Slam. The time is now.