Joe Schmidt Reveals Ireland Could Go With A New Backline For Wales Game

Joe Schmidt has a lot of decisions to make ahead of their Six Nations clash with Wales.

Ireland travel to the Principality under Friday night lights on the March 10, knowing a win could set up a potential Six Nations decider with England at the Aviva the week after.

The Ireland boss has now revealed that we could see a new backline for the crucial encounter, with Jared Payne in line for a return.

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Payne made his return after three months out because of a kidney injury in Ulster’s Pro12 win over Zebre in Parma on Sunday. Schmidt said Payne is among a number of players who could be considered for inclusion.

“Jared is probably one of them,” said the Ireland coach.
“There are a few other guys in contention as well, the likes of Dave Kilcoyne, who is working away pretty hard, and Denis Buckley is working hard.”

Rob Kearney underwent a scan on Monday over a groin problem picked up in the France game, but the Ireland team are confident he will be back. Should Kearney miss out, Schmidt could look to bring Payne in at fullback.

If the Leinster fullback does make it however, we could see Payne brought in regardless. Schmidt is a huge fan of the Ulster star, and while Ringrose has done well, he doesn’t bring the same level of experience that Payne brings- who has been labeled as Ireland’s ‘defensive leader’ in the past.

Payne is expected to get further game time with Ulster against Treviso on Friday.