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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Ruaidhri O'Connor Twitter

Conor Murray named to start as Andy Farrell rolls out his big guns for Scotland

Conor Murray will start against Scotland

Andy Farrell has restored a host of big names to his team for Ireland's penultimate Six Nations clash against Scotland, with Conor Murray named to start at scrum-half.

Eschewing the old mantra about not changing a winning team, the coach has made six changes to the XV that started the victory over Italy two weeks ago.

Farrell's hand is strengthened by the return to fitness of Tadhg Furlong, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw, with the latter pair on the bench.

Bundee Aki reverts to inside centre to allow Ringrose come back into the team as Stuart McCloskey misses out altogether.

Murray, Dan Sheehan and Peter O'Mahony are back in the starting team after they came off the bench in Rome, with Caelan Doris switching to No 8.

The back-three remains intact, with James Lowe proving his fitness to link up with Hugo Keenan and Mack Hansen.

Sexton captains the team and partners Murray, while Furlong's return is timely given Finlay Bealham's tournament-ending injury and he joins Andrew Porter and Sheehan in the front-row, as Iain Henderson holds off Ryan Baird's challenge to partner James Ryan.

O'Mahony links up yet again with Josh van der Flier and Doris, as Jack Conan covers on the bench that also features Baird, Rónan Kelleher, Cian Healy and Tom O'Toole to add physicality up front, while Conor Murray, Ross Byrne and Henshaw cover the backs.

Ireland team to face Scotland: H Keenan; M Hansen, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Lowe; J Sexton (capt), C Murray; A Porter, D Sheehan, T Furlong; I Henderson, J Ryan; P O’Mahony, J van der Flier, C Doris. Reps: R Kelleher, Cian Healy, T O’Toole, R Baird, J Conan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, R Henshaw.

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs); 14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), 13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), 12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh); 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92), 9. Ben White (London Irish); 1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), 2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), 3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), 5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), 6. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), 8. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors).

Replacements: 16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), 18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors), 19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), 20. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), 21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), 22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), 23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby).

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