Ireland travel to Rome to take on Italy this weekend, as they attempt to put the loss to Scotland behind them. Joe Schmidt has made two changes to the side that will take to the field at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon, with Cian Healy and Donnacha Ryan replacing Jack McGrath and Iain Henderson respectively.
Paddy Jackson will continue to pull the strings from out-half, while the back-row of CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip remains unchanged.
Ireland fans have been given some good news today, as Schmidt has confirmed that Jonathan Sexton and Peter O’Mahony will return in time for Ireland’s tie with France.
Schmidt says Sexton and O'Mahony will be fit for the France game.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) February 9, 2017
The return of the Leinster fly-half comes as a huge boost. Having missed the opening two rounds, he will add pace and guile to the Irish attack.
Meanwhile, O’Mahony has been immense for Munster this season, and it would be hard to leave him out of the game-day 23 as a result. Should injury hamper any of the Irish back-row, O’Mahony will surely be drafted in.
However, for the 23 selected today, the task at hand takes precedence as anything less than a bonus-point win over Italy would be disastrous, and essentially end Ireland’s interest in the title-race.