Keith Earls back in Ireland team for big Six Nations test in Paris
Munster centre makes immediate return
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has made just one chance to his team for Saturday’s make or break Six Nations clash with France in Paris.
Munster centre Keith Earls returns to the starting 15 after his young daughter’s illness forced him to withdraw from the team that lost to Wales in such dramatic fashion last Sunday.
Earls comes straight back in at the expense of Leinster’s Fergus McFadden while Stephen Ferris retains his position at flanker after escaping any further punishment after his yellow card against the Welsh and a subsequent citing.
McFadden returns to the bench in place of Leinster team-mate “Keith has been bubbling away since he has been back with us and has trained well. It was tough on Fergus to lose out,” said coach Kidney as Ireland chase only a second win in Paris since 1972.
France opened their Six Nations campaign by beating Italy 12-30 at the Stade de France last Saturday.
“There’s a lot we have to improve on. Some of the silly errors we made against Wales we must cut out,” said Irish captain Paul O’Connell.
“Against France away from home you need to start well. It is frustrating that I haven’t beaten France in Paris, but we have a team that can do it.”
The Ireland team to face France is: Rob Kearney (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Keith Earls (Munster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tom Court (Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster).
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