Ireland make five changes for 'second chance' against Scots

Ireland make five changes for 'second chance' against Scots
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland made five changes, four of them enforced through injury, to the team that will travel to Scotland on Saturday in a bid to kickstart their Six Nations defence after a disappointing opening loss to England.

Ireland lost number eight CJ Stander, lock Devin Toner and centre Garry Ringrose to injuries sustained in the 32-20 defeat and added Robbie Henshaw to the list on Thursday after he failed to recover from a dead leg and train properly this week.

Henshaw was expected to return to the more familiar role of centre, allowing Rob Kearney to return to fullback but his absence hands Chris Farrell an opportunity in the midfield while Jack Conan and Quinn Roux replace the injured men in the pack.

The only other change sees Sean O'Brien favoured over Leinster teammate Josh van der Flier at flanker.

"We talk about continuity but I think it's a fantastic opportunity. We could be struck with a similar circumstance to what we had four years ago," Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said of the changes, referencing the 2015 World Cup when his side did not have the depth to cope with a string of frontline absentees.

"We need to be able to be flexible, we need to be able to have guys transition in and out as seamlessly as possible so that's an opportunity that's presented itself and maybe there would have been a bit of that anyway."

Schmidt last week bemoaned his side's habit of starting slowly having failed to win their opening Six Nations game for the third time in four years, and said on Thursday that the bruising defeat had stung for much of the week.

"It is hard to suddenly hit the ground running but there's no way we want to volunteer any excuses because there none. You've got to get out and you've got to play well in the first game," he told a news conference.

"That hurt for sure and there weren't too many guys who slept well on Saturday night. It probably took us until today to really get a spring back in our step and really get hungry because we can't pass up a second opportunity."


15-Rob Kearney, 14-Keith Earls, 13-Chris Farrell, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray, 8-Jack Conan, 7-Sean O'Brien, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 5-Quinn Roux, 4-James Ryan, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Rory Best (captain), 1-Cian Healy

Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Dave Kilcoyne, 18-Andrew Porter, 19-Ultan Dillane, 20-Josh van der Flier, 21-John Cooney, 22-Joey Carbery, 23-Jordan Larmour

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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