Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Six Nations: Calvin Nash ruled fit as Ireland name unchanged XV to face Scotland; Garry Ringrose onto bench

Must read

Andy Farrell says Ireland have “battened down the hatches” in their quest to retain the Six Nations title after some players received online abuse in the wake of their last-gasp loss to England.

Farrell spoke about the issue after naming an unchanged starting XV to take on Scotland in the final round fixtures on Saturday, with wing Calvin Nash ruled fit to play and Garry Ringrose brought into the squad on the bench.

Members of Farrell’s squad, including veteran scrum-half Conor Murray, were subsequently targeted on social media for their performances in the 32-22 defeat at Twickenham.

Farrell last year branded the “circus” surrounding his son Owen “absolutely disgusting” before the England captain decided to take a break from international rugby to prioritise his mental health.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports News’ James Cole and Megan Wellens preview the final round of Six Nations fixtures including Ireland’s game with Scotland, France against England and Wales versus Italy.

“Everyone would be lying if they said they hadn’t (been aware of it),” said Farrell.

“But that’s been the way of the world for some time now, hasn’t it, really, in regards to social media etc?

“We’ve battened down the hatches as far as our concentration on what we need to do to improve our performance and make sure that we’re the best of ourselves.

“And come Tuesday afternoon after the training session and a big session on Wednesday as well, it seems to be that the focus is right where it should be.”

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray
Image:
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray received online abuse after the loss to England

Murray was vilified for kicking away possession in the closing minutes as Ireland attempted to protect a 22-20 lead, while captain Peter O’Mahony was criticised following a costly second-half yellow card.

Former Ireland international Andrew Conway described the negativity and disrespect aimed at players following his country’s second defeat in 22 games as “staggering”.

“It’s one loss and the bounce of a ball, an interpretation here and there,” said Farrell.

“But that’s the way of the world, you’ve got to roll with the punches as far as that’s concerned because we’ve all talked about it, we’ve all discussed it at length, certainly in this room (referring to Owen Farrell).

“It’s not for changing any time soon. Hopefully it will do though.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports News’ James Cole and Megan Wellens discuss whether England’s victory over Ireland was their best under head coach Steve Borthwick.

Nash fit to retain starting spot

Nash limped out of Ireland’s loss to England only four minutes into the Test, after suffering a head knock and then failing his HIA.

The 26-year-old has since passed relevant head checks, however, and got through return-to-play and return-to-contact protocols in order to be involved.

As such, the only changes to the Ireland squad come on the replacements bench, with Farrell doing away with the 6-2 split in favour of a more traditional 5-3.

Nash
Image:
Calvin Nash has been ruled as fit to play for Ireland vs Scotland, retaining his place on the right wing in an unchanged XV

The change allows fit-again centre Ringrose to come onto the bench in the No 23 jersey, with Harry Byrne also brought in as specialist out-half cover.

Ringrose – who started all five games of Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam last year – has missed the championship to this point, after a shoulder injury and then the selection of a 6-2 bench split at Twickenham.

Full-back Hugo Keenan and left wing James Lowe combine with Nash in the back three, while Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw are paired together at centre again.

Ringrose
Image:
Ringrose has missed the entire championship to date, due to a shoulder injury and then selection

Out-half Jack Crowley and scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park start again at half-back, while Leinster trio Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong form the front row.

Joe McCarthy and Tadhg Beirne are retained in the second row, while captain O’Mahony keeps his place in the back row alongside Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris.

Among the replacements, lock/flanker Ryan Baird and No 8 Jack Conan squeeze Ulster’s Iain Henderson out of the squad, while hooker Ronan Kelleher, loosehead Cian Healy and tighthead Finlay Bealham are named again.

Scrum-half Murray is the third back named alongside Byrne and Ringrose, with Ciaran Frawley ruled out (concussion).

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Joe McCarthy, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Caelan Doris

Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham,19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Garry Ringrose

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here…

Latest article