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Schmidt: I trust Sexton and Murray

Called in: Ulsterman Chris Farrell will start at outside centre for Ireland against Scotland after being called up by coach Joe Schmidt
Called in: Ulsterman Chris Farrell will start at outside centre for Ireland against Scotland after being called up by coach Joe Schmidt

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Joe Schmidt has launched a strong defence of his starting half-backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton after the duo's sub-par performances in the 33-20 loss to England last weekend.

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The pair start against Scotland tomorrow in a much-changed Ireland team as Robbie Henshaw became the latest injury victim to pull out.

He joins CJ Stander, Devin Toner and Garry Ringrose in being sidelined.

The injuries have forced Schmidt into changes, with Rob Kearney starting at full-back and Chris Farrell coming in at outside centre, while Quinn Roux replaces Toner in the second-row and Jack Conan comes in at No.8 in Stander's place.

Sean O'Brien replaces Josh van der Flier, who drops to the bench.

Of his half-backs, Schmidt said: "They are class players and class is permanent.

"I've chatted to both of them, mainly to offer them the same confidence that so many people have in them, including the players in the team."

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