Ireland forced into reshuffle after Hugo Keenan’s injury while uncapped prop gets nod for Wales clash

Colin Newboult
Hugo Keenan being tackled during Six Nations game against Italy in 2024.

Hugo Keenan being tackled during Six Nations game against Italy in 2024.

Playmaker Ciaran Frawley will replace the injured Hugo Keenan in the full-back jersey for Ireland’s encounter with Wales on Saturday.

The 27-year-old sustained a knee issue during their 36-0 triumph over Italy and was touch and go for this clash.

Ireland are not too concerned by Keenan’s injury, but he has not trained for the past two weeks and will therefore miss the Six Nations match against Wales.


Coach Simon Easterby gave an update on his condition earlier in the week, saying: “He’s good, and I think again, it’s sort of similar to Caelan.

“Hugo has been such a massive part of this group since he first made his debut a few years ago, so it’s important that we give him the opportunity to prove his fitness.

“But we are really excited as well about the opportunities that might present if he doesn’t make it.”

Keenan’s absence therefore opens the door for Frawley, who slots into the back three alongside Calvin Nash and James Lowe.

He was preferred to the likes of Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour, while head coach Andy Farrell decided against moving Jack Crowley back there, which was where the fly-half finished against Italy.

That is the only change to the backline which started against France – with Jamison Gibson-Park and Bundee Aki both getting a rest in Round Two.

In the pack, there are no alterations from the forward eight that began the opening round, but Farrell will be pleased to have captain Peter O’Mahony and prop Tadhg Furlong both back fit.

Caelan Doris has also overcome an injury issue to take his place in the back-row, shifting to his usual position at number eight.

Meanwhile, on the bench, there is a new name in the shape of Oli Jager, who only signed for Munster in November 2023 after several years with the Crusaders.

Jager is the tighthead replacement, with Ronan Kelleher and Cian Healy covering the other two front-row spots.

Lock James Ryan is back on the bench and he is joined by Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray and Stuart McCloskey as the other impact options, with Farrell reverting to a 6-2 split.

Ireland’s side to take on Wales

Ireland: 15 Ciaran Frawley, 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 Oli Jager, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Stuart McCloskey

Date: Saturday, February 24
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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