Surprise Inclusion In Expected Ireland Team To Take On France

Three days and counting.

Ireland open up their 2018 Six Nations account on Saturday with a trip to Paris to take on France. Les Blues have a new coaching ticket, but are set to be without a number of key players.

Morgan Parra, Wesley Fofana, Camille Lopez and Matt will all be absent this Saturday. In contrast Ireland are set to be without Sean O’Brien and Garry Ringrose for the crucial opener.

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O’Brien’s spot in the starting line-up will be taken by Josh van der Flier according to a report by The Irish Independent, while Bundee Aki looks set to continue in midfield in Ringrose’s absence.

Elsewhere a surprise inclusion is expected in the second-row department, with James Ryan set to get the nod over Leinster teammate Devin Toner. He’ll be partnered by Ulster’s Iain Henderson.

The other big calls see Cian Healy start ahead of Jack McGrath, and Rob Kearney retain his spot at fullback ahead of the likes of Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour. Keith Earls is expected to slot back in on the wing.

Possible Ireland team to face France:

Rob Kearney
Keith Earls
Robbie Henshaw
Bundee Aki
Jacob Stockdale
Johnny Sexton
Conor Murray

Cian Healy
Rory Best (capt)
Tadhg Furlong
Iain Henderson
James Ryan
Peter O’Mahony
Josh van der Flier
CJ Stander