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6 Nations

Scotland trio miss out through injury

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Scotland will aim to build on their historic winning start to the 2021 Guinness Six Nations this weekend when they face Wales at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 13 February – kick off 16:45.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes, one in the pack and two in the backline following the opening weekend victory over England at Twickenham.

Flanker, Jamie Ritchie, centre, Cameron Redpath and winger, Sean Maitland are unavailable through injury.

Scarlets back-row Blade Thomson and Harlequins centre James Lang come into the starting XV, as does Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham. All three played in the last meeting between the two nations, when Scotland beat Wales in Llanelli in October in the concluding round of the 2020 Six Nations competition.

Captain Stuart Hogg continues at full-back following his ‘Man of the Match’ performance in the Calcutta Cup win and he is joined in the back-three by Edinburgh pair Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham.

James Lang partners Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the midfield, with Ali Price and Finn Russell completing the back division. Russell takes on vice-captain duties with Jonny Gray.

Head Coach Townsend is able to select the same pack, with the inclusion of Thomson, that played in the opening round.

Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson pack down in the front row, with Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings continuing their lock partnership.

Thomson comes onto the blindside flank, alongside Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson in the back-row.

All the replacements who travelled to Twickenham are selected again as the matchday 23.

Edinburgh hooker David Cherry, who won his first cap against England, is joined by Oli Kebble and WP Nel as front row cover.

Richie Gray and Gary Graham provide the forward options, with scrum-half Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt and Huw Jones available to cover the backs.

Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “We have an opportunity this weekend against Wales to continue the positive start to the Guinness Six Nations we made last week against England.

“It was a very encouraging performance at Twickenham and the squad performed to a level which has to be the benchmark throughout the tournament. Wales are also coming into this game after a win and will have the same objective, so it will be a tough challenge as always.

“Both teams were involved in physical contests last weekend, and that is evidenced by the injuries Wales and we ourselves have picked up. For us, we are able to bring in three quality players in Blade, James and Darcy. They have been training well and are highly motivated to make the most of this opportunity.”

6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension

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Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU

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Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

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6 Nations

Sexton extends contract

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

The 2018 World Player of the Year took on the Ireland captaincy in January 2020 and is one of Irish rugby’s most decorated players.

He has been central to both Ireland and Leinster’s success for over a decade following his international debut against Fiji in November 2009.

A two time Lions tourist in 2013 and 2017, Johnny has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and four European Cups with Leinster.  He has represented his provinces on 171 occasions scoring 1505 points.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Johnny continues to show he has the quality and appetite to compete at the highest levels.  He is playing an important leadership role with the Ireland squad and his insight and experience continues to be of great value to the group.”

Johnny Sexton, commented,

“I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments.   I am enjoying the challenge of captaincy and the added responsibility that it brings.  My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own.”

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