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John Cooney set to miss out on Ireland Six Nations start but four Ulster players included



No joy: Ulster ace John Cooney

No joy: Ulster ace John Cooney

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

No joy: Ulster ace John Cooney

John Cooney may have lost his bid to oust Conor Murray as Ireland's starting scrum-half for Saturday's Six Nations opener against Scotland in Dublin.

In a move which will cause dismay in Ulster, it is widely believed that new coach Andy Farrell has chosen to ignore Cooney's sparkling form to keep faith with the hugely experienced Murray.

Instead, Cooney is expected to be named on the bench today when Farrell reveals the team for his first game in charge since taking over from Joe Schmidt.

Even though Cooney has been the form scrum-half in Ireland this season, it is thought that Farrell will keep the established half-back pairing of Murray and new skipper Johnny Sexton together for Saturday evening's clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Despite Cooney's expected snub, Ulster could have four players in Farrell's starting team.

Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockale, Rob Herring and Will Addison are all thought to be in the side, though Addison's place at full-back may be dependent on Jordan Larmour's fitness.

Elsewhere, 21-year-old Leinster No.8 Caelan Doris is in line to make his Ireland debut.

Belfast Telegraph