World Rugby has hit out at "irresponsible" safety campaigners who have criticised the governing body's head injury assessment (HIA) process.

Safety campaign group Progressive Rugby claimed the HIA protocols had been "exposed" after Johnny Sexton was passed fit to play in Ireland's second Test against New Zealand.

Ireland skipper Sexton was taken off with a head injury during last weekend's first Test, but he passed the subsequent HIA checks and was given the all-clear to play again on Saturday.

Responding to the criticism, World Rugby said in a statement on Thursday that the wellbeing of players is never put at risk.

"It is the duty of any individual or organisation commenting on the head injury assessment process to do so using the facts," the statement read.

"Attempting to diagnose a serious medical condition like concussion from afar, without all the relevant information including a player's medical history, is irresponsible and no substitute for the world-leading medical care received by elite rugby players.

"Doctors are supported by the head injury assessment and recently updated return-to-play protocols put in place by World Rugby. 

"These protocols are developed using scientific evidence and independent expert opinion which are kept under constant review, as we never stand still on player welfare."

As part of changes announced by World Rugby last month, players now face an increased minimum period of 12 days out of action should they be found to have suffered a concussion.

That has seen the likes of Tom Curry and Tomas Francis return home from England's and Wales' tours of Australia and South Africa respectively this week after sustaining such injuries in their opening Tests.

 

Johnny Sexton will return to Ireland duty for the second Test against New Zealand, just a week after suffering a head injury in the opening game of the series.

The fly-half and captain had to be replaced half an hour into the first Test after he failed a head injury assessment; however, he has been passed fit to feature on Saturday.

Coach Andy Farrell named his team on Thursday for a game that will be played under a roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, with Mack Hansen coming in on the right wing.

Ireland are otherwise unchanged, and to be able to call on Sexton is a boost to their prospects.

Peter O'Mahony took on the captaincy responsibility after Sexton went off early in Ireland's 42-19 defeat in Auckland, and he welcomed confirmation that the 36-year-old would be available.

Quoted by the Irish Independent, O'Mahony said: "There is no secret, Johnny is one of the best 10s in the world, one of the best players in the world, so you want to be dealing with a full deck.

"We want to be playing with as full a bill of health as possible and there isn't anyone you can say you can afford to have out with regard to having three games in the space of nine or 10 days. He is hugely important to us, obviously our captain. I am far from a medical practitioner, but he has been in good form."

New Zealand have a concussion absentee, with Sam Whitelock ruled out, meaning Scott Barrett is switched to lock from his flanker role as Dalton Papalii comes into the team.


New Zealand team: J Barrett, Reece, Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga'anuku, B Barrett, Smith, Savea, Cane (captain), Papalii, S Barrett, Retallick, Tu'ungafasi, Taylor, Bower.

Replacement: Taukei'aho, Ross, Ta'avao, Tuipulotu, Sowakula, Fakatava, Mo'unga, Jordan.

Ireland team: Keenan, Hansen, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, Gibson Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Healy, Bealham, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Aki.

Ardie Savea bagged a double as New Zealand overcame a difficult week of preparations to swat aside Ireland with a 42-19 win in the first Test in Auckland.

The All Blacks overcame a nervy start against Andy Farrell's visitors to gradually, and then ruthlessly, impose themselves upon proceedings at Eden Park.

Ireland, who lost influential fly-half Johnny Sexton half-an-hour in after he failed a head injury assessment, had arrived for their three-game tour looking to back up victory in November with a first win in New Zealand.

An early try for Keith Earls looked to represent the perfect start for them, particularly against a home team whose build-up had been ransacked by a COVID-19 outbreak, requiring ex-Ireland boss Joe Schmidt to step into their coaching ranks.

But a barnstorming run by debutant Leicester Fainga’anuku helped get Jordie Barrett over the line in response, sparking a fluid All Blacks passage, with finishes for Sevu Reece, Quinn Tupaea and Savea setting a 28-5 advantage at the break.

Garry Ringrose responded after the interval to give Ireland hope, but a superb solo second for Savea sealed the game,before Pita Gus Sowakula crossed for a try on debut and Bundee Aki nabbed a late consolation finish in the closing stages.

India saw off a dramatic Ireland response to edge a thrilling second T20I on Tuesday as they held on for a four-run victory at Malahide.

The visitors completed a clean sweep of the two-match series thanks to a superb second-wicket stand of 176 between Sanju Samson and Deepak Hooda, eventually reaching 225-7.

That partnership proved enough to stave off what would have been a famous Irish triumph, but only by a narrow margin after skipper Andrew Balbirnie's 60 off 37 balls dragged the hosts close to victory.

With a six required for a stunning win, Mark Adair could only manage a single on the final ball to ensure India clung on in what proved a far tougher match than their blowout seven-wicket win on Sunday.

Ahead of next month's three-game tour against England, which follows this week's rearranged fifth Test match at Edgbaston, the visitors will feel they have been now suitably tested.

Samson and Hooda overcame the early loss of Ishan Kishan for three to make it a magnificent display with 77 and 104 respectively, combining for a cumulative 28 boundaries between them.

Though a flurry of late wickets looked to have checked India's stride, their total still seemed to represent a tall order for Ireland to chase, particularly after Balbirnie fell to make it 107-3 in response after 10.3 overs.

But Harry Tector (39) and George Dockrell (34) helped lead a stirring reply to take the match down to the wire, where the hosts fell agonisingly short of a historic result.

Kishan yet to lock in spot?

With three in this match and 26 on Sunday, Kishan hasn't had a two-game streak to remember - and with just one 50 in his past five T20Is, there is an argument - perhaps bizarrely - that his spot at the top of the order for this year's T20I World Cup remains in flux. The left-hander will likely be safe even with a poor run against England however, thanks to doubling as wicketkeeper.

Tector tough to touch

Harry Tector was in the mood to bat fast again, and clubbed his 39 from 28 balls, with five boundaries. It comes on the back of a standout innings in the first match, and a trio of impressive scores in February, including a half-century off 37 balls against the United Arab Emirates.

Joe Schmidt will help New Zealand prepare for the first Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistants tested positive for COVID-19.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend and Scott McLeod is the latest coach to contract the virus.

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt will work with the New Zealand squad this week in the absence of that trio.

Centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive for COVID-19, so Braydon Ennor has been called up to join the squad in Auckland.

Foster said: "Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday's training this week, and we're really grateful to have his help.

"We've planned for this kind of disruption and we've got back-up plans and people on standby.  Joe was one of those people we could call on."

Foster added: "I've got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

"Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together."

India crushed Ireland by seven wickets after rain clouds cleared at Malahide, delivering a clinical display in the opening T20I.

Late-afternoon wet weather in Dublin meant this was reduced to a 12-overs-a-side contest, and Ireland recovered from a rocky start to post 108-4 from their allocation.

Harry Tector cracked three sixes in making 64 not out from 33 balls, the highest T20I score by an Ireland batter against India, but the 22-year-old was the only member of the home team who made a substantial impact. They had been 22-3 at one point.

The hosts' total looked on the low side given the batting power in India's ranks, and that was how it turned out as India sauntered to 111-3 in 9.2 overs.

India lost Ishan Kishan for 26 and Suryakumar Yadav without scoring to successive deliveries from Craig Young in the third over, bowling the former and pinning the latter lbw.

They had 30 on the board at that point but were not slowed down by the twin blows, with opener Deepak Hooda's 47 not out from 29 balls the pivotal innings.

Captain Hardik Pandya bludgeoned 24 from 12 deliveries, striking three sixes, before being snagged lbw by Josh Little, by which time the victory line was in sight.


Too little, too late

By the time Little pinned Pandya for a prized scalp, this contest was effectively already over. Hooda had provided the glue that held India's innings together, so it was appropriate he was the man to strike the winning runs at the start of Little's next over, cracking the first two balls to the boundary to clinch the victory. Little's 2.2 overs cost 39 runs, while Young finished with 2-18 from two overs.

Harry in a hurry

These sides meet again on Tuesday, also at Malahide, and Ireland will be looking for more fireworks from Tector. His innings on Sunday followed a handy run of three prosperous T20I innings in February, when he clattered 24 from 15 deliveries against Germany, 35 from 27 balls against Oman and 50 from 37 against the United Arab Emirates.

There will be plenty of focus on Hardik Pandya as he bids to again display his captaincy skills in his first series as India skipper in Ireland.

Pandya has stepped in as captain for the two-match Twenty20 International series as Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer instead focus on the rearranged Test against England.

There is an opportunity for the 28-year-old all-rounder to impress across two matches India will expect to dominate, having won each of their three prior T20Is against Ireland. Against no team do India have a better 100 per cent winning rate (also three matches versus Afghanistan).

Pandya was captain of Gujarat Titans in the 2022 Indian Premier League, leading the franchise to the title in their debut season.

And former India opener WV Raman, who also coached the women's team, is looking forward to seeing Pandya in a leadership role at international level for the first time when the series begins on Sunday.

"There will be excitement in this series because Hardik Pandya is becoming the new captain of the Indian team," Raman told News24 Sports.

"The way he captained an IPL team raises everyone's expectations. His habit of taking responsibility was the best thing I found in the IPL.

"The expectation is that he will continue in the same way, will motivate everyone nicely."

Indeed, this could even be considered an audition for Pandya to take on the role over a longer period.

Raman added: "He did good captaincy for an IPL franchise, but you will have to see how he leads the Indian team, because here there is a selection committee.

"We will have to see what is their convictions, ideas and views after seeing his captaincy, so that they can make a decision based on that."

Opportunity knocks

Ireland have lost their past two T20Is against Test-playing sides, while India are on a three-match winning run away from home, so there may be the opportunity for the tourists to take a look at some of the fringe members of their squad.

Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh were both called up for the recently finished South Africa series, but neither made an appearance as India stuck with their first-choice bowling attack, having fallen 2-0 behind.

Although that decision paid off, as they recovered to draw 2-2, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (45) and Avesh Khan (45) bowling more dot balls than any other players, Malik and Arshdeep will hope they are rewarded now for their patience.

Batters old and new

Rahul Tripathi is the latest player to be given a first call-up and will hope to impress with the bat, as he did during the IPL, scoring 413 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But Dinesh Karthik, the 37-year-old wicketkeeper-batter, is also in line for a key role once more.

The veteran had not played for his country since 2019 ahead of the South Africa series, but he scored a boundary once every 3.9 balls against the Proteas – a leading rate – and appears likely to deputise for Pant with the gloves while again showing off his batting talents ahead of the World Cup.

Hardik Pandya will captain India in the absence of Rishabh Pant for the two-match T20I series in Ireland, while Rahul Tripathi has received his first call-up.

India announced their 17-man squad on Wednesday for the Ireland series, which starts on June 26 in Malahide.

Pant and Shreyas Iyer will be a part of India's Test squad for the rearranged fixture against England, giving Pandya the opportunity to captain the white-ball side and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to deputise as vice-captain.

Pandya is acting as Pant's vice-captain for the ongoing five-match T20I series against South Africa, which India trail 2-1.

Tripathi has been rewarded for a fine Indian Premier League campaign, scoring 413 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad an average of 37.6.

"I am very happy that the selectors and everybody believed in me and whatever hard work I have put in, I have got the rewards," Tripathi told PTI after the announcement. 

"And hopefully, if I get an opportunity to play, I will try and give my best."

Sanju Samson has been recalled, while Suryakumar Yadav returns after recovering from a forearm injury that ruled him out of the IPL and South Africa series.

Experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik will come in as wicket-keeper in the absence of Pant, though Ishan Kishan or Samson can also fill in behind the stumps if needs be.

VVS Laxman will coach India on the tour, with Rahul Dravid overseeing the Test side in England.
 

India’s T20I squad: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

Ireland scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park was over the moon after his side's dominant 26-5 win against Scotland in the Six Nations.

The victory earned Ireland the Triple Crown after they previously defeated both England and Wales. It is the first time Ireland have beaten the other three home nations since 2018.

In a decisive showing, Ireland opened the contest with two converted tries in the first 28 minutes, opening up a 14-5 lead at half-time before adding two more tries in the run home.

Ireland's victory also put them in with a chance of winning the Championship, though they were relying on England to defeat France in Saturday's final game – a result that did not materialise as Les Bleus completed the Grand Slam with a 25-13 victory in Paris.

Gibson-Park was thrilled with the result in front of Ireland's adoring fans in Dublin.

"It's unbelievable, what a feeling to be back at home and back in front of our home fans and families," he said after helping Ireland claim their biggest Six Nations win over Scotland since 2015.

"What a moment to savour, back in front of our home fans and our families. We're chuffed man. We'll have a good night."

Ireland secured the Triple Crown and kept the pressure on France with a comfortable 26-5 bonus-point win over Scotland in their Six Nations finale.

Andy Farrell's men went into their final game in Dublin needing a win to maintain their hopes of edging Grand Slam hopefuls France to the title.

They did their job with an assured display against a Scotland side that will be disappointed to end the Championship with only wins over England and Italy to show for their efforts.

Ireland now need a favour from England in Paris to deny France a first title and Grand Slam since 2010.

Scotland looked dangerous during the frenetic opening exchanges but it was Ireland who established a grip on the contest.

Hooker Dan Sheehan peeled off the maul to open the scoring and the hooker twice attempted to barge over the line for his second try before prop Cian Healy eventually broke through the Scotland resistance.

A response from Scotland came courtesy of another front-row, the visitors getting a reward for finally putting over 10 phases together when Pierre Schoeman dotted down.

Outstanding covering defence from Hugo Keenan denied Stuart Hogg what looked a certain try early in the second half.

Hogg's failure to take that chance was eventually punished after Ireland's dominance of territory paid dividends, Josh van der Flier powering over to give Ireland complete command of the contest.

Ben White was sin-binned late on for a deliberate knock-on, and Ireland took advantage to secure a bonus point through Conor Murray as they sealed a first Triple Crown since 2018.

They will now hope England will provide them with more to celebrate later on Saturday.

Scotland's Dublin wait goes on

Scotland have still not tasted victory at Lansdowne Road since it was redeveloped and transformed into the Aviva Stadium.

It is now 11 wins in the last 12 home Six Nations matches with Scotland for Ireland. Scotland's only win in that run came at Croke Park in 2010.

Ireland defence stays strong

Scotland went into the game averaging the most points (2.9) per entry into the opposition 22 in the competition.

But Ireland's defence frustrated them throughout on this occasion, holding them to just one score from seven entries into the 22.

England boss Eddie Jones has rung the changes ahead of the team's Six Nations trip to Paris on Saturday, as his side attempt to deny France a first Grand Slam since 2010.

George Furbank will replace Freddie Steward at full-back, with Steward moving to the wing after playing the former role in each of England's previous four games. 

The Northampton man's introduction represents one of five changes made by Eddie Jones, with Ben Youngs, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Underhill, and Will Stuart the other players to be introduced, as Tom Curry, Harry Randall, Kyle Sinckler, and the suspended Charlie Ewels all drop out.

Max Malins, meanwhile, has been dropped from the squad entirely after playing every minute of the previous four Six Nations outings, as the visitors look to salvage some pride from a disappointing campaign.

Jones, who has won three Six Nations titles since taking the England reigns in 2015, has been faced with speculation regarding his future in recent days, with the team facing the prospect of finishing fifth in consecutive Six Nations campaigns, having done so in 2021.

However, the 62-year-old, while disappointed to be out of contention for the trophy, was looking forward to seeing how his much-changed side faired against Les Blues.

"This is our strongest 23 for the game against France," he said.

"We are disappointed not to be in the contention for the trophy, but last week's effort against Ireland was full of pride, energy and tactical discipline.

"We have focused on refreshing the team this week and we are ready to empty the tank on Saturday."

Only one of the last nine Six Nations meetings between France and England has been won by the visiting team, with England prevailing 31-21 back in 2016.

 

England: George Furbank, Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randal, George Ford, Elliot Daly.

Finn Russell has been dropped to the bench for Scotland's final game of the 2022 Six Nations, as coach Gregor Townsend makes two changes to his starting XV for the trip to Ireland.

The Racing 92 half-back, a talismanic presence for his country, has suffered faltering form across the Championship and makes way for Blair Kinghorn.

Exeter Chiefs second-rower Jonny Gray replaces clubmate Sam Skinner in the only other change made by Townsend as his side look to deny their hosts a shot at the title at Aviva Stadium.

Ireland can keep themselves in contention with victory on home soil, along with a win for England against France, with coach Andy Farrell making three swaps for the crunch clash.

Iain Henderson, Jack Conan and Mack Hansen are all drafted in, with the former a direct replacement for James Ryan after he was ruled out with a head injury.

At home, Ireland have won 10 of their 11 Six Nations matches against Scotland, save a loss at Croke Park in 2010, leaving the visitors needing to buck history to finish on a high.

 

Ireland XV: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson;,Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Robbie Henshaw.

Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Kyle Steyn, Blair Kinghorn, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Josh Bayliss, Ben White, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett.

All eyes will be on the Stade de France on Saturday as the 2022 Six Nations comes to a conclusion when leaders France take on England.

While the visitors can finish no higher than third place, Eddie Jones' men will revel in being the ultimate party poopers in Paris.

Victory for France in 'Le Crunch' will seal a first Grand Slam since 2010, though Les Blues could still finish top and land a first title since then should Ireland fail to beat Scotland.

Saturday's other fixture sees Wales take on pointless Italy in Cardiff and, while there may be little riding on that game, it will be a milestone occasion for a couple of players.

Ahead of the final round of fixtures, Stats Perform previews each match with help from Opta.


FRANCE V ENGLAND

FORM

The omens are good for France as two of their previous three Six Nations Grand Slams have been completed with victory over England in the final round, in 2004 and again six years later, while just one of the past nine games between these sides in the competition has been won by the visitors – England prevailing 31-21 in 2016.

Fabien Galthie's charges have lost just one of their past eight home games in the competition, with that solitary defeat coming at the hands of Scotland last year as they chased a big winning margin to pip Wales to the title.

England are aiming to avoid losing three matches in a single edition of the Six Nations for the third time in seven years playing under Eddie Jones, having also done so in 2018 and 2021, and for a fifth time overall. 


ONES TO WATCH

Damian Penaud, who has a joint-high three tries in this year's tournament, is back in France's starting XV after recovering from coronavirus, replacing the injured Yoram Moefana. France have scored seven tries from counter-attacks this year, which is at least three more than any other team, so pacey Penaud could cause some damage this weekend.

England will need to work incredibly hard if they are to stop arguably the world's top side right now and hope that their key players turn up. In Marcus Smith they boast a player who leads the way for points in 2022 with 63, 19 more than next-best Melvyn Jaminet.

 

IRELAND V SCOTLAND

FORM

Ireland must beat Scotland earlier on Saturday if they are to remain in title contention and they have a great recent record in this fixture, winning seven of their last eight Six Nations meetings.

That record is even better on home soil, meanwhile, having been victorious in 10 of the last 11 encounters in the competition, including each of the last five in a row. Scotland's only win in that run came at Croke Park in 2010.

Fourth-placed Scotland have won five of their last six away games in the tournament, however, which is as many as they had managed in their previous 43.


ONES TO WATCH

Ireland were made to work hard for their victory against an England side that played almost the entire 80 minutes with 14 men last week, but they did ultimately get the job done. Jamison Gibson-Park led the way for passes in that match with 59 – more than double any opposition player – and he has a joint-high three assists in this edition.

Finn Russell is level with Gibson-Park on three assists, but he has been surprisingly omitted from Scotland's squad for the match at the Aviva Stadium due to his growing indiscipline and poor form. Ali Price is next for Scotland on the assists list with two, and there will now be more focus on him on what is his 51st cap.



WALES V ITALY

FORM

Wales are aiming to climb two places and finish third and will be confident of fulfilling their half of the bargain by claiming a bonus-point win against bottom side Italy. The Dragons have won each of their last 14 in this fixture, last tasting defeat in 2007.

After losing at home to France in their most recent home match, Wales are aiming to avoid successive losses at the Principality Stadium in the competition for the first time in 15 years, when losing their final such game in 2006 and first in 2007.

Italy will claim the Wooden Spoon once again having lost all five games this year, stretching their record losing run in the tournament to 36 matches. The Azzurri's most recent win away from home came against Scotland in 2015.

ONES TO WATCH

This will be a special occasion for Dan Biggar, who is in line for his 100th cap, and Alun Wyn Jones, who returns for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against New Zealand in October for his 150th appearance. That makes the Wales skipper the first player to win 150 or more caps for a single nation in history.

Ange Capuozzo has been handed a first Test start after making a big impression in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Italy. The Grenoble full-back has scored two tries in this year's Six Nations, accounting for half of Italy's total, with both of those coming in a 34-minute appearance against Scotland in round four.

England lock Charlie Ewels has been given a three-match ban for the red card he received early on against Ireland last weekend.

The 26-year-old was dismissed just 82 seconds into Saturday's 32-15 defeat at Twickenham after clashing heads with opposite number James Ryan.

That red card was the earliest ever in the Six Nations, with each of the three quickest in the competition's history each coming in the last two editions.

Ewels will now miss England's final game of this year's tournament against France in Paris, as well as Bath's Premiership fixtures against Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.

However, he can undertake a Coaching Intervention Programme to have that suspension reduced to two matches, meaning he will be available to face Worcester on March 30.

Ewels was facing a possible ban of up to six weeks, but that was halved due to mitigating factors such as an early acceptance of the red and his remorse.

 

England's defeat to Ireland means they cannot finish any higher than third in this year's tournament.

Next opponents France are two points better off than Ireland, who host Scotland in the final round of fixtures, and are one win away from a first title and Grand Slam since 2010.

Two of France's three previous Grand Slams have been completed with a win over England in the final round, in 2004 and 2010.

England head to Paris aiming to avoid losing three games in a single edition of the competition for a third time under Eddie Jones, previously doing so in 2018 and 2021.

Ireland will have to do without James Ryan and Ryan Baird in their crunch Six Nations showdown with Scotland on Saturday.

Ryan was unable to return to the field after he was floored by a dangerous tackle from Charlie Ewels only 82 seconds into Ireland's 32-15 win over England at Twickenham last weekend.

Ewels was shown a red card for clashing heads with Ryan, who failed a subsequent head injury assessment.

Lock Ryan will not be available when Andy Farrell's side do battle with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on the final day of the tournament.

Fellow second row Baird also missed the encounter in Dublin due to a back injury, so Ross Molony and Joe McCarthy have been called up to train with the squad.

Second-placed Ireland are two points adrift of leaders France and must win to keep their hopes of winning the title alive, with Les Bleus facing England in Paris later in the day.

 

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