Ireland without Simon Zebo and Keith Earls for Six Nations trip to France
By Mike Patterson
Last Updated: 11/02/16 2:12pm
Ireland will be without Simon Zebo and Keith Earls for their Six Nations clash with France in Paris on Saturday.
Zebo, who started last weekend's 16-16 draw with Wales in Dublin at full-back, has failed to overcome a knee problem after suffering a late setback, so Rob Kearney, who is fit again after a hamstring injury, will start in the No 15 jersey at the Stade de France.
Earls was selected on the left wing against Wales but has been unable to recover from suspected concussion and Dave Kearney replaces him.
Leinster openside Sean O'Brien has recovered from his hamstring complaint and replaces Tommy O'Donnell in the only change to the pack, while fly-half Johnny Sexton and wing Andrew Trimble have overcome injury niggles.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt delayed naming the team until after Thursday's training session in order to assess his injury issues.
"We were just trying to clarify the fitness of Simon Zebo and Keith Earls, both of whom we have left out of the squad," Schmidt said.
"They got through training and at the same time we just felt they weren't 100 per cent fit. We just felt it was a risk.
"That's the latest selection and change we've had to make. Normally we would name the match squad before training, and everyone would be fully fit and have absolute clarity on what their role was and where they were training.
"It's probably a bit unsettling and frustrating, but we have to get around it."
Fergus McFadden was overlooked for Ireland's initial Six Nations squad, but the Leinster wing was brought into the training squad as cover earlier in the week and the 29-year-old has been named on the bench.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Jack McGrath, 2 Rory Best (capt), 3 Nathan White, 4 Mike McCarthy, 5 Devin Toner, 6 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: 16 Richard Strauss, 17 James Cronin, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden.