Ireland boosted by returning Hugo Keenan but star lock suffers Six Nations-ending injury

Colin Newboult
Hugo Keenan in action for Ireland v Italy in the 2024 Six Nations.

Hugo Keenan in action for Ireland v Italy in the 2024 Six Nations.

Hugo Keenan has recovered from injury in time to take his place in the Ireland XV to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The full-back picked up a knee issue during their 36-0 victory over Italy and missed the Round Three clash with Wales.

Ciaran Frawley stepped in at 15 in his place, scoring a try in the 31-7 Six Nations triumph, but he has dropped down to the bench following Keenan’s return.

No other alterations

That is the only change to the run-on side as Keenan reunites with Calvin Nash and James Lowe in a potent Ireland back three.

There is still no Garry Ringrose in the squad, which means Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw continue at centre.

At half-back, Jamison Gibson-Park and Jack Crowley have built up a promising partnership and once again take the decision-making slots.

Up front, it is the same forward eight that started against Wales and France with Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and captain Peter O’Mahony making up the loose trio.

Tadhg Beirne and outstanding youngster Joe McCarthy are the lock combination, with Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter forming an imposing front-row.

On the bench, they are without James Ryan, who will miss the final two games because of a bicep injury, but they have a readymade stand-in as the experienced Iain Henderson comes into the 23.

Henderson joins Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan as the forward replacements.

Farrell has once again opted for a 6-2 split, which means Conor Murray and the versatile Frawley are the only backline options off the bench.

Ireland team to face England

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Ciaran Frawley

Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant Referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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