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6 Nations

England team named for Ireland clash

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Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

England welcome back Manu Tuilagi into their starting XV for the first time since June 2014 and head coach Eddie Jones has liked what he has seen in training from the Leicester Tigers powerhouse.

Tuilagi starts at inside centre forming a midfield partnership alongside Henry Slade with England also adding the Vunipola brothers Mako and Billy.

And Jones is excited to see the three players in action on Saturday as England open their Guinness Six Nations campaign against champions Ireland in Dublin.

“I just felt for this game the best option was to play Owen Farrell at 10 and Manu as a like-for-like replacement for Ben Te’o,” said Jones.

“Manu has impressed us at the training camp, and is right to play.”

On the returning Vunipola brothers, he added: “It is nice to have Mako and Billy back. Mako is obviously a world-class loosehead. We missed him during the autumn but he has come back in good nick and really committed to be the best he can be.

“With Billy, we haven’t had him for a long time. He’s also in great nick and ready to play well for us.”

Having been in the crowd in Dublin for England’s last win in Ireland in 2013, scrum half Dan Robson returns to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday named as a finisher for the game and Jones says the Wasps man has earned his selection.

“He’s done well in club rugby for a long period of time and he’s come into the squad and fitted in well,” he added. “He is communicating well with the players and really deserves his opportunity.”

Eddie Jones has named his side to face Ireland in the Dublin this weekend.

Irish coach Joe Schmidt is due to name his side at 13.45.

The match Kick Offs in Dublin at 16.45 on Saturday 2nd Feb and will be shown live on ITV.

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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6 Nations

Ireland Release 12 Players For Guinness PRO14

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The Ireland coaching group will retain a 24 man panel for the two day mini-camp on Thursday and Friday this week at the IRFU High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus.

There were no additional injury concerns following the match against France and the players (Burns, Healy, Henderson) who were removed for HIAs will follow the appropriate protocols this week.

Twelve players are returning to their provincial bubbles to avail of game time in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend – Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane, Dave Heffernan (Connacht), Ryan Baird, Ross ByrneJack Conan (Leinster), Craig CaseyAndrew ConwayShane DalyChris Farrell (Munster) and Stuart McCloskeyTom O’Toole (Ulster).

The three players who provided specialist cover at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday – Harry ByrneJohn Cooney  and Eric O’Sullivan– have also returned to their respective provinces.

All members of the Ireland squad and backroom team undertook routine PCR tested on Monday producing no positive results.  The group will undergo further routine testing  again this week as per our protocols.

Ireland Squad – Two Day Camp February 17/18

Backs

Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 7 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 88 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps

Forwards

Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps
Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 30 caps

Returning to Provinces

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 30 caps
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 12 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 24 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Con) 1 cap
Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 18 caps
Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 14 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 5 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 4 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) uncapped

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6 Nations

Farrell forced to make big changes for Ireland v France

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The Ireland coaching group have named the side that will face France in round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

There’s a new half-back pairing, a new captain a cap record in the front row and one uncapped player on the bench.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and vice-captain James Ryan have not hit all their markers this week in the return to play protocols so are not considered for selection.

Ulster’s Iain Henderson will captain Ireland for the first time, becoming the 108th player to lead Ireland. He will be partnered in the second row by Tadhg Beirne.

The front row that started against Wales of Cian HealyRob Herring and Andrew Porter is retained. Healy will win his 106th cap taking him ahead of John Hayes (105) as Ireland’s most capped prop.

In the backrow Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander are joined by Rhys Ruddock who slots in on the blindside flank.

Conor Murray picked up a hamstring strain in training this week and has been ruled out of this game. Jamison Gibson Park comes in to start at 9 and will partner Billy Burns.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre and the back three is unchanged with  Hugo Keenan at fullback flanked by  Keith Earls and James Lowe.

There are four changes in the replacements as Ed Byrne, Ultan Dillane, Ross Byrne and the uncapped Craig Casey come in while Ronan Kelleher, Tadgh Furlong, Will Connors and Jordan Larmour complete the bench for the weekend.

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