Ireland without key trio for France clash

Date published: February 12 2021 - Colin Newboult

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has been left out of Sunday’s must-win Six Nations game against France, while James Ryan will also miss the contest.

Sexton and Ryan suffered head injuries against Wales last weekend and are currently undergoing return-to-play protocols.

The fly-half’s long-standing half-back partner Conor Murray is absent as well due to a hamstring problem, with Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park in at scrum-half.

Iain Henderson captains the side

Ulster’s Billy Burns will deputise in the number 10 jersey, while Iain Henderson replaces Ryan and will also captain the side. He will be partnered in the second-row by Tadhg Beirne.

The front-row that started against Wales of Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter is retained. Healy will win his 106th cap taking him ahead of John Hayes (105) as Ireland’s most capped prop.

In the back-row Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander are joined by Rhys Ruddock, who slots in on the blindside flank.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre and the back three is unchanged with Hugo Keenan at full-back flanked by Keith Earls and James Lowe.

There are four changes in the replacements as Ed Byrne, Ultan Dillane, Ross Byrne and the uncapped Craig Casey come in while Ronan Kelleher, Tadgh Furlong, Will Connors and Jordan Larmour complete the bench for the weekend.

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Iain Henderson (c), 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Will Connors, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Jordan Larmour

Date: Sunday, February 14
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)