Confirmed: Chris Farrell to make surprise start against Scotland as Schmidt rings five changes
Ireland have been dealt another injury blow as Robbie Henshaw misses out on the clash with Scotland.
The Athlone native picked up a muscle injury in Tuesday’s training session.
He had been expected to revert to the No 13 shirt to replace Garry Ringrose, allowing Rob Kearney to come into the team at full-back, but his absence means Chris Farrell comes into a much-changed side for his fourth cap.
The loss of Henshaw is the latest blow to Joe Schmidt who lost CJ Stander, Ringrose and Devin Toner to injury after a bruising defeat to England last weekend.
He is already without Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Luke McGrath, Kieran Marmion and Dan Leavy.
Seán O'Brien and Jack Conan come into the back-row, with Quinn Roux starting the biggest game of his international career to date in the second-row.
Keith Earls is fit enough to start on the wing after being forced off at half-time with a hip pointer issue, with Jacob Stockdale retained.
Bundee Aki partners Farrell for the first time since the win over Wales in last year’s Six Nations, while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray start at half-back.
Up front, Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong form a familiar combination, while James Ryan partners Roux in the second-row. Best captains the side.
Peter O’Mahony is the man retained in the back-row, with Josh van der Flier named on the bench.
Ultan Dillane is the only other new face among the replacements, with Dave Kilcoyne continuing to deputise for Healy and Sean Cronin and Andrew Porter providing front-row cover.
John Cooney, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour remain having come off the bench against England.
15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Chris Farrell
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Quinn Roux
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Jack Conan
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