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Six Nations Rugby: Ireland v Wales squad update

By Ali Gordon

Ireland have already beaten England, but this Saturday at Millennium Stadium could be their toughest challenge yet.

Sam Warburton will lead an unchanged Wales team against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm) as he enters the record books, captaining his country for a record 34th time.

Warburton will surpass Ryan Jones' record of 33 matches as captain as Wales look for their third successive victory of this year's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

The same side that took to the pitch for the 20-13 win in Paris will start the penultimate fixture against the defending champions. There are two injury-enforced changes on the bench with the uncapped Rob Evans and his Scarlets team-mate Jake Ball coming in for Paul James and Bradley Davies respectively.

Joe Schmidt will announce his Ireland squad on Thursday.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: "We return to the Millennium Stadium after two tough away trips with two victories and will be looking to build on that.

"We saw an improvement against Scotland and then saw another step up against France and we know we will need to do the same against Ireland on Saturday. Ireland are the form team in Europe and we know it is going to be a huge battle.

"The changes on the bench mean Rob Evans gets an opportunity. We have been impressed with him for his region and at training. Our strength in depth in the second row is highlighted again as Jake comes back into the squad.

"Saturday is also a fantastic achievement and honour for Sam. He has developed into the role fantastically and is a modern day professional. He is a role model that will continue to get better."

 

WALES TEAM V IRELAND

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon)

14. George North (Northampton Saints)

13. Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne)

12. Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro 92)

11. Liam Williams (Scarlets)

10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys)

9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys)

1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)

2. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys)

3. Samson Lee (Scarlets)

4. Luke Charteris (Racing Metro 92)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)

6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys)

7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (capt)

8. Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons)

 

Replacements:

16. Richard Hibbard (Gloucester)

17. Rob Evans (Scarlets)

18. Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys)

19. Jake Ball (Scarlets)

20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)

21. Mike Phillips (Racing Metro 92)

22. Rhys Priestland (Scarlets)

23. Scott Williams (Scarlets)

 

Earlier in the week, Joe Schmidt announced his 36-man training squad. He will reveal Saturday's squad on Thursday via live stream on www.irishrugby.ie.

Today assistant coach Richie Murphy confirmed that Ireland's fly-half Johnny Sexton trained fully on Tuesday, after recovering from hamstring trouble, and is expected to play on Saturday.

Murphy said Ireland now have "a full deck to pick from" with Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien and Jared Payne all cleared to face Wales this weekend.

 

Training squad as follows:

Backs (16)

Isaac Boss (Terenure/Leinster)

Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)

Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)

Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)

Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)

Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)

Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)

Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)

Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)

Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)

Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)

Jared Payne (Ulster)

Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)

Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)

 

Forwards (20)

Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster)

Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)

Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)

Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)

Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)

Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)

Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)

Mike McCarthy (Leinster)

Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster)

Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)

Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt)

Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)

Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)

Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)

Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Dan Tuohy (Ulster)

 

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