Ireland coach Declan Kidney has left his fly-half position open ahead of Saturday's clash with France in Dublin.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney left his fly-half position open ahead of Saturday's clash with France in Dublin.
Kidney has named the rest of his starting XV but has not confirmed who will wear the number 10 jersey, with Paddy Jackson, who started in the 12-8 defeat to Scotland, currently struggling with a hamstring injury.
If Jackson is ruled fit, he will compete with Ian Madigan for the fly-half position.
First-choice pivot Jonathan Sexton was also in the running for a return, after injuring his hamstring against England, but it was decided to give him a further week to recover.
“Paddy's chances of pulling through are very good and he should be good to train on Thursday,” Kidney said.
“We'll make the choice between Paddy and Ian then.
“I was told just a moment ago that it will be better to give Jonathan Sexton another week to recover.
“Jonny ran at top speed this morning. It would be easy to put him in against France, but it's better that he builds up his strength for another week.”
In total there are three changes, with Cian Healy, Fergus McFadden and Mike McCarthy all in the run-on side while Tom Court, Craig Gilroy and Donncha O'Callaghan miss out.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 TBC, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c) 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 TBC, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 TBC, 22 Luke Fitzgerald.
Date: March 9
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Greg Garner (England)
Television match official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)