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Joe Schmidt To Make Two Changes To Ireland Pack Ahead Of Italy Clash [Report]

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Joe Schmidt the coach of Ireland arrives prior to the RBS 6 Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield Stadium on February 4, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ireland are licking their wounds this week as the fall-out of their shock loss to Scotland continues. Joe Schmidt’s side will remain confident that they are still in with a shout of championship glory, but that must start with a bonus point win in Rome on Saturday.

According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, Jack McGrath will be dropped in favour of Leinster team-mate Cian Healy. McGrath has been the starting loose-head for both province and country since injury ruled Healy out for much of the 2014/2015 season.

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 18: Ireland player Cian Healy in action during Ireland Captains Run ahead of their opening 2015 Rugby World Cup match against Canada at Millennium Stadium on September 18, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The other change in the pack will see Donnacha Ryan return as Iain Henderson makes way. Ireland struggled at the line-out against Scotland, and will know that this area must be targeted if they are to maintain front-foot possession throughout the match.

Ryan is likely to offer more stability than Henderson in this regard.

Meanwhile, the returning Andrew Trimble could break back into the side, depending on fitness.

Predicted Ireland team to face Italy:

Rob Kearney, Keith Earls/Andrew Trimble, Garry Ringrose, Rob Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Trimble/Earls.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.