Six Nations: Ireland bring in Herring for injured Sheehan against unchanged France

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Ireland have brought in Rob Herring for injured hooker Dan Sheehan for Saturday's huge Six Nations clash with France, who named an unchanged line-up.

Sheehan started nine of Ireland's past 10 matches, but a hamstring injury sees him drop out for the match at the Aviva Stadium in a possible title and Grand Slam showdown.

Herring will deputise for Sheehan, while Conor Murray has been passed fit to continue his half-back partnership with captain Johnny Sexton, who was himself a fitness doubt.

"It's not nice for Dan," Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said on Thursday. "He's a fantastic player at the top of his game. Anyone would miss a player in that kind of form. 

"I sound like a broken record, but it's great because this is exactly what's going to happen down the track in the World Cup.

"International rugby is only going to get bigger and better so it's always going to be about the squad.

"When you get to the World Cup, you've a small squad. There's rightly a 12-day turnaround as far as concussions are concerned, so you're always going to be numbers down."

Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy all missed Ireland's opening 34-10 win over Wales and remain out of the matchday 23 to face France.

 

Ireland, who finished second to France in last year's tournament, are ranked number one in the world and have won 21 of their past 22 home games, including each of the past 12.

They host a France side on a 14-match winning run – their best ever streak – most recently overcoming Italy 29-24 in a tight contest last weekend.

Fabien Galthie has stuck with the same XV that started the game in Rome, meaning Romain Ntamack is retained at number 10, despite Matthieu Jalibert's impact from the bench.

Francois Cros returns to the replacements' bench as one of two changes, along with Baptiste Couilloud, with Thomas Lavault and Nolann Le Garrec dropping out.

"Firstly, we have gone with the same personnel due to the performance [against Italy], the victory with a bonus point, which meant they achieved their target," Galthie said.

"Coherence, too, as it is three weeks that we have worked with this group.

"And also confidence because we have confidence in our players who for three years have progressed together; that is why there are no surprises in the starting XV."

France have won each of their past three meetings with Ireland, this after winning just one of their previous nine Test encounters (D2 L6).

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