What we learned from Ireland’s team announcement to face England

Ireland have it all to play for at Twickenham on Saturday, with a third-ever Grand Slam firmly in their sights.

Ireland have it all to play for at Twickenham on Saturday, with a third-ever Grand Slam firmly in their sights.

The Irish denied England a Grand Slam in their final game of last season’s Championship, so Eddie Jones’ troops will have revenge on their minds.

Joe Schmidt made just one change to the side that sealed the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations title with their win over Scotland last weekend.

Here’s everything we learned from Schmidt’s selection.


Schmidt was clearly pleased with his side’s performance during the win over Scotland and has not felt the need to tinker too much.

Peter O’Mahony sat out Ireland’s penultimate full training session and there was speculation that Jordi Murphy could be in line to replace him.

The front row trio of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong has proved to be a winning combination and not one that needs freshening up.

Schmidt must be confident that the prospect of a Grand Slam will be enough to motivate his players and propel them on to victory.


Rob Kearney put in a man-of-the-match  performance against Scotland, and possibly at just the right time, with Leinster teammate Jordan Larmour making inroads at international level.

Larmour impressed on his Ireland debut against Italy as he came off the bench and is certainly seen as someone who will go on to inherit a starting jersey for his country.

Kearney has been in great form though and his experience could prove vital against England at Twickenham.


The only change sees Iain Henderson come in for Devin Toner in the second row, with Jack Ryan retaining his place in the Ireland side.

Schmidt has juggled his players in the second row and admitted that he was always intending to shake things up there for the England game.

With 57 caps, Toner is the most experienced, something that Schmidt may be expecting to exploit from the bench in a potentially tight and nervy game.


There are no changes in the back line after another impressive display last time out.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton continue in a formidable half-back combination while Bundee Aki will partner Garry Ringrose once more in the centres.

Jacob Stockdale is in superb try-scoring form and starts on the left wing, while the ever-reliable Keith Earls is on the opposite flank.