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Main talking points as Andy Farrell picks Ireland team for England

Andy Farrell

Ireland have been hit by injuries ahead of the game.

Andy Farrell has announced his Ireland team to take on Eddie Jones’ England at Twickenham this Saturday and there are a few notable surprises.

As a result of injuries to a few key men, Farrell was always going to have a few big calls to make.

However, he has made a number of noteworthy decisions not forced by injury as well.

Quinn Roux retains his place in the second row.

While the South African born lock impressed during Ireland’s win over Wales last Friday, he had plenty of competition in the form of Iain Henderson and Tadgh Beirne.

The Ulster captain has been named as a replacement after missing out on last week’s game due to a minor injury and will provide plenty of power off the bench.

Farrell may have picked Roux with the deadly English scrum in mind, with the big second-rower being noted for his abilities as a scrummaging lock in the past.

Peter O’Mahony gets another start in the 7 shirt.

The Munster captain put in his best performance in an Irish jersey in recent memory against the Welsh, seeing off Will Connors and Josh van der Flier to start.

He was particularly impressive at lineout time for the men in green, taking advantage of the struggling Welsh set-piece on a few occasions.

His leadership abilities will also come in handy to James Ryan, who will appreciate O’Mahony’s cool head for his first test as captain.

Leinster duo get the nod at 9 and 10.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne have been named as the half-backs ahead of Conor Murray and Billy Burns.

Andy Farrell

While the pair are fairly inexperienced at international level, they are well acquainted with each other thanks to their time at the eastern province.

Byrne will be hoping for a far different game than the last time he started against England, where Eddie Jones’ men ran rampant in a 57-15 win.

Keenan stays at fullback and Keith Earls returns to starting XV.

While he was originally named on the wing against Wales, Hugo Keenan’s time at fullback clearly impressed Farrell and has trusted him the job against the English.

Keith Earls meanwhile will get his first start for Ireland since the quarter-final loss to New Zealand at the World Cup, at the expense of Andrew Conway.

Andy Farrell

While not spectacular, Conway has been solid for Ireland on the wing and may feel hard done by to have been dropped out of the match-day 23.

Despite being 33, Earls still has plenty of gas and must have seriously impressed Farrell in training during the week to get the nod.

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