Schmidt shuffles Ireland pack for Italy clash


Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made four changes to his side ahead of Saturday's visit of Italy.

Schmidt's men snatched a last-gasp win over France in Paris on the opening weekend of the Six Nations thanks to Jonathan Sexton's sensational drop-goal.

All four of the New Zealander's alterations have come among the pack, with Jack McGrath, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan all moving into the starting XV.

McGrath is preferred to Cian Healy in the front row, while Conan and Leavy join Peter O'Mahony in a much-changed back row.

Josh van der Flier (knee) is unavailable through injury and CJ Stander has been dropped to the bench, but second-rower James Ryan misses out completely despite impressing against France.

Toner takes the place of the 21-year-old alongside Iain Henderson.

Leinster wing Jordan Larmour is among the replacements and could make his international debut at the Aviva Stadium.


Ireland XV: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Devin Toner, Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, CJ Stander, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carberry, Jordan Larmour.