Ireland without injured Conor Murray for Six Nations finale with England

Posted March 17, 2017

J Payne (Ulster); K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose, R Henshaw (both Leinster), S Zebo (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht); J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), T Furlong (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), CJ Stander (Munster), S O'Brien, J Heaslip (both Leinster).

Rob Kearney's knee injury has opened the way for Jared Payne's return at fullback, with the uncapped Andrew Conway on the bench, but the big surprise was Devin Toner's demotion to make way for Iain Henderson.

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray has been ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations clash against England in Dublin after failing to overcome a shoulder injury.

Highlighting Toner's progress in the seven years he's coached him at Leinster and with Ireland, Schmidt added: "I do think it's tough for Dev, but at the same time he's racked up some massive miles and he's just a little bit worn out at the moment and Iain Henderson is fresh".

That certainly seems to be the case as England come looking for a world-record 19th win in-a-row to surpass New Zealand.

Luke McGrath comes onto the bench to cover Marmion and could make his Six Nations debut, while Andrew Conway is standing by to make his worldwide bow in the number 23 jersey. Niall Scannell 17. Cian Healy 18.

The weaknesses in Kieran Marmion's game are his kicking-to-contest and his passing. "He offers confidence to players in front of him". Iain Henderson came off the bench (against Wales) and did really well last week. "It probably won't be too long but [he] needs a bit of further investigation".

"It was a tight call in the second row".

'Between Donnacha Ryan and Dev (Toner) we just wanted to give him a chance to start. Donnacha also did well last week, so it was just trying to get that balance.

'We can still attain the target of second place, so there's still a heck of a lot for us to gain individually and collectively'.

Keith Earls looks set to be retained on the right wing if he can shrug off the groin strain that kept him out of Monday and Tuesday's sessions, while Conor Murray will partner Johnny Sexton at half-back unless he shows any ill-effects of the shoulder injury he suffered against Wales last Friday as Ireland look to finish their campaign on a high.

This will double the pressure on captain Rory Best to throw with the accuracy of Phil "The Power" Taylor.