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Five Munster Players To Start v France

23rd February 2017 By Munster Rugby

Five Munster Players To Start v France

Munster have another strong representation ahead of Ireland’s crunch Six Nations match against France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (KO 4:50pm).

The Red Army’s Keith Earls and Simon Zebo again start on each wing for the Irish, who racked up nine tries against Italy in Rome a fortnight ago, with Earls getting two of those. Conor Murray also continues as scrum-half for Ireland’s first home game in the Six Nations.

Niall Scannell drops to the bench after his impressive Six Nations debut, with Rory Best returning at hooker, but will be hoping to make an impact in Dublin. Donnacha Ryan picks up where he left off at second-row, while behind him CJ Stander – who became the first forward to score a hat-trick in the history of the tournament against Italy – will form one part of a formidable back-row.

Also among the replacements are Cork Constitution and Munster team-mates John Ryan and Peter O’Mahony, as Ireland look to make a big statement against a physical French side.

“It’s going to be a really physical game, and we’re really hopeful that our replacements will be primed to go because the last 30 minutes of the match will really be keenly contested” said Irish head coach Joe Schmidt at camp today.

“With the likes of the experience of Peter O’Mahony (sic) and the enthusiasm of Niall Scannell who I thought was super, whose first two involvements were two excellent cleanouts and he just grew from there.

“It’s great to be home, we’re really looking forward to getting back to the Aviva and we know supporters are really looking forward to it as well, and it’s going to be a really raucous environment.”

Saturday’s game will mark the passing of the halfway point for Schmidt’s side, who, after the opening day disappointment against Scotland, will be looking to get themselves right back in the Championship picture.

Ireland Team & Replacements (v France, RBS 6 Nations, Aviva Stadium, Saturday 25, February, 4:50pm)

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 74 caps
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 56 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 5 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 26 caps
11. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 30 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 63 caps
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 55 caps
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary's/Leinster) 38 caps
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) c 101 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 13 caps
4. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 44 caps
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 44 caps
6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 12 caps
7. Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster) 46 caps
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) vc 93 caps

Replacements
16. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 1 cap
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 64 caps
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 3 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 29 caps
20. Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 37 caps
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 10 caps
22. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 21 caps
23. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 69 caps

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