Iain Henderson: Ireland without lock for Saturday showdown against Wales in Six Nations

Ireland are without lock Iain Henderson for Saturday's Six Nations showdown against Wales in Cardiff.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 2:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 2:31 pm
Ireland and Ulster lock Iain Henderson

Henderson has been struggling with an injury issue during the week.

Munster second row Tadhg Beirne will make his first start in the Six Nations having missed the first two rounds with a knee injury.

There is also a recall for flanker Sean O'Brien, who did not feature in the match-day panel for Sunday's win over France, but had featured against England, Scotland and Italy.

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A groin injury keeps Josh van der Flier out, and Joe Schmidt has opted for the Carlow man ahead of Dan Leavy, who hasn't played a game since Leinster's Pro14 meeting with Connacht on 22 December.

Rob Kearney, who was a late withdrawal last weekend, returns at full-back having recovered from a calf strain.

The front row remains unchanged with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong either side of captain Rory Best, who will make his final championship appearance.

Munster men Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander retain their places in the back row, while Jack Conan who impressed last week, playing just less than an hour of the 26-14 win, returns to the bench

The Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton half-back partnership remains intact, while Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre.

Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls keep their wing berths.

Munster duo Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne plus Andrew Porter cover the front row off the bench, with Ultan Dillane and Conan the other forward replacements.

Scrum-half Kieran Marmion may get his first taste of Six Nations action this year off the bench, with Jack Carty and Jordan Larmour covering the rest of the backline.

Liam Williams has recovered from injury and will start for Wales in Saturday's Six Nations Grand Slam clash against Ireland.

Full-back Williams went off during the 18-11 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend after suffering a 'stinger' to his shoulder area.

But the Saracens star has been named in an unchanged team by head coach Warren Gatland as unbeaten Wales chase a first Six Nations title since 2013 and first Grand Slam for seven years.

Wales: L Williams; G North, J Davies, H Parkes, J Adams; G Anscombe, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, T Francis, A Beard, A W Jones (capt), J Navidi, J Tipuric, R Moriarty.

Replacements: E Dee, N Smith, D Lewis, J Ball, A Wainwright, A Davies, D Biggar, O Watkin.

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.