O’Connell leads Ireland as O’Donnell and Keatley miss out


Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 14.02.54PAUL O’Connell will once more lead Ireland as Joe Schmidt has named his Ireland team to face France on Saturday at 5pm.

Jamie Heaslip and Johnny Sexton are introduced to the starting line-up which sees two changes to the team named to start against Italy last week.  Munster’s Tommy O’Donnell and Ian Keatley drop out of the squad completely, with Jordi Murphy moving from number eight to the bench.

Heaslip joins Peter O’Mahony in the back-row alongside Sean O’Brien.   Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are reunited at half-back.  Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are the midfield partnership.   The back three sees Rob Kearney flanked by Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo.

Cian Healy is added to the replacements alongside Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan and Felix Jones.

Ireland’s fixture against French will be followed at the Aviva Stadium by the Club International fixture between the Ireland Club Side and their French counterparts.  The Kick-off for the Club international takes place at 8pm

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Ireland team vs France: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; (8-1) Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell (captain), Devin Toner, Mike Ross, Rory Best, Jack McGrath.

Replacements: Sean Cronin; Cian Healy, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Felix Jones.