O’Brien back for Ireland as Beirne makes Six Nations bow

Munster player to make Six Nations debut for Ireland against Wales

Munster player to make Six Nations debut for Ireland against Wales

Josh van der Flier was withdrawn in the first half of last week's win over France due to a groin injury and so O'Brien, who lost his place to the winger, is back in the team.

He replaces Iain Henderson who is ruled out through injury. Tadgh Beirne and James Ryan are partnered in the second row with Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and CJ Stander named in the backrow. Cian Healy 2. Rory Best 3.

Schmidt admitted he would have preferred not to have to throw Beirne in straight away.

"He probably would have liked to have had a bit more game time leading into it but it's just a case of slotting people in", said Schmidt.

"If it was me, I would be concentrating on playing Scotland". And that's been a really positive challenge for us throughout the Six Nations, and still try to get some cohesion. He will know his fellow Scarlets teammates very well.

The replacements are Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty and Jordan Larmour.

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"With that combination, I do think he is as ready as we can get him to be at this stage and I know he's incredibly motivated to be as ready as he can be".

Rob Kearney will start at fullback in one of three changes to Ireland's lineup for Saturday's match against Wales in Cardiff.

England's head coach Eddie Jones has attempted to undermine Wales' Grand Slam attempt by declaring they must face Ireland while suffering from fatigue.

Rob Kearney returns at full-back.

Wales are bidding for what would be a third Grand Slam under Gatland in what is his final Six Nations campaign before he steps down after the World Cup in Japan in November.

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