Ireland name Garry Ringrose in Six Nations team to face Scotland
Last Updated: 09/03/18 10:37am
Garry Ringrose has recovered from an ankle injury to be named in the Ireland team for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Scotland in Dublin.
The 23-year-old suffered ankle trouble in January but made his comeback for Leinster last week, and returns to the Ireland midfield to ease the loss of Robbie Henshaw, Chris Farrell and Jared Payne.
Leinster star Henshaw dislocated his right shoulder in Ireland's 56-19 win over Italy on February 10, and Munster's Farrell - who replaced Henshaw for the 37-27 win over Wales - tore knee ligaments in training.
Ulster centre Payne, meanwhile, has not played since last summer's Lions tour to New Zealand, having suffered persistent headaches.
British and Irish Lions duo Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson also return after hamstring problems - although Henderson only to the bench, with youngster James Ryan partnering Devin Toner at lock.
Henderson had been widely tipped to slot straight back into the starting line-up, but Schmidt has kept faith with his most-selected player in Toner.
The 31-year-old will this weekend make his 44th Ireland start under Schmidt, in the Kiwi coach's 54th match at the helm.
Pivotal half-backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton have also shrugged off knocks in time for Saturday's Aviva Stadium encounter, where Ireland will chase a fourth successive win in this year's competition.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt conceded Ringrose's selection after just an hour of club rugby with Leinster since January was "needs-must" given the team's injury problems.
"There's always concerns about players for different reasons, and Garry's only had six games in this entire season," Schmidt said.
"That's something you calculate in but sometimes you don't have the luxury of a plethora of options.
"Garry's been extraordinary when he has played for us, he's done a great job. We're hoping he can hit the ground running and get straight back into that form.
"It's a needs-must situation, but it's a situation where we've got a lot of trust and faith in Garry."
Ireland, looking to claim a first Grand Slam in nine years, are currently top of the table on 14 points, five more than second-placed England, who they face in their final match at Twickenham on March 17.
Ireland team to play Scotland: 15 R Kearney, 14 K Earls, 13 G Ringrose, 12 B Aki, 11 J Stockdale, 10 J Sexton, 9 C Murray; 1 C Healy, 2 R Best, 3 T Furlong, 4 J Ryan, 5 D Toner, 6 P O'Mahony, 7 D Leavy, 8 CJ Stander.
Replacements: 16 S Cronin, 17 J McGrath, 18 A Porter, 19 I Henderson, 20 J Murphy, 21 K Marmion, 22 J Carbery,
23 J Larmour.