France v Ireland
Ireland make two changes for France clash
March 13, 2014
Ian Madigan has been named on Ireland's bench © Getty Images
Ireland have named their squad to take on France in Paris on Saturday, making two changes to the 23 that beat Italy last weekend.
Ian Madigan replaces Paddy Jackson on the bench, while Peter O'Mahony returns to the pack at No.6. Iain Henderson moves to the bench while Rhys Ruddock drops out of the squad altogether.
And Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has backed Madigan to do a job for Ireland if he is called on. "Sometimes you make those replacements because of injury and sometimes to change up what you're doing," Schmidt said. "I feel confident Ian's the right man to do those two things for us within the current squad.
"He played through the autumn and he has trained with us for the full eight weeks throughout this tournament. If you can't show confidence in a player then perhaps you've got to go outside the squad, and that's not ideal either. Ian is a very good player and he does give us coverage through the midfield and at full-back.
"It's been a pretty combative campaign, we just started to creak a little bit, so we just needed the coverage. In England we got a couple of niggles, and we didn't have as broad a coverage on the bench as we would have liked. If Johnny [Sexton] had been injured Paddy [Jackson] would have started."
Scrum-half Conor Murray and prop Cian Healy have overcome injuries to make the starting XV as Ireland hunt a first Six Nations title since 2009. Brian O'Driscoll will take to the field for his final Test appearance. The centre is to retire from international rugby after Saturday's fixture.
Ireland: Rob Kearney (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Dave Kearney (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro), Conor Murray (Munster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (capt; Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Marty Moore (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster).
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