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Stockdale to miss out on Ireland recall for Scotland clash, but hooker Herring set to get the nod over Kelleher


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Jacob Stockdale

Jacob Stockdale

©INPHO/Matt Mackey

Jacob Stockdale

It appears that only limited change will be made to Ireland's side to meet Scotland in Sunday's Six Nations encounter at Murrayfield.

Coach Andy Farrell, who names his line-up today, is thought likely to retain most of the starting team which ran out 48-10 winners against Italy on February 27 as Ireland registered their first victory of the tournament after losing to Wales and France.

That appears to suggest that there will be no place for Jacob Stockdale in Farrell's plans after the Ulster winger joined the squad this week following his recent return from injury.

However, it is believed that Ulster hooker Rob Herring could be restored to the starting XV after benching against Italy with Ronan Kelleher making way to become a replacement.

Elsewhere, Cian Healy is also in line to be restored with Dave Kilcoyne heading for bench duties.

In the backline, meanwhile, Farrell is thought to have brought Keith Earls back in, the Munster winger trading places with Jordan Larmour who will bench.

Farrell may have resisted bringing the fit-again Conor Murray straight back into the team and is likely to retain Leinster's Jamison Gibson-Park at nine.

Murray, though, could be in line to be a replacement which would mean that Craig Casey, who made his debut in Rome, drops out of the 23.

Iain Henderson will pack down again alongside James Ryan, while Billy Burns is in line to be retained as skipper Johnny Sexton’s back-up.

Ulster captain Henderson is hoping that Scotland’s enforced break from the Six Nations will have contributed to them losing some match sharpness for Sunday’s clash.

The Scots have not played for four weeks due to the postponement of their round-three clash with France, which fell by the wayside due to multiple positive Covid-19 cases within the French camp, including head coach Fabien Galthie.

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“I’ve been in the scenario before where we haven’t played for a number of weeks and you feel very fresh going into it,” he said.

“But then sometimes in the back of your mind it crawls in, ‘is my conditioning up to standard here?’

“I feel like we’re in a good position, personally. In the shoes I am sitting in at the minute, I would have preferred to play two weeks ago (and) I am glad that we did.

“A good few of their guys did get back and play for their individual teams, so conditioning might not be at the forefront of their minds. But a bit of the team closeness or how connected they feel will hopefully be playing on their minds.”


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