Joe Schmidt Provides Fitness Updates On Iain Henderson & Tadhg Furlong

Doug Mendoza
February 23, 2018

Biggar returns to the side along with fellow Lions Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams as Wales start to welcome back many of their stalwarts from injury.

Porter, the 22-year-old prop, and 24-year-old centre Farrell have been brought in to replace injured Leinster duo Tadhg Furlong and Robbie Henshaw by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, who has made five changes from their 56-19 win over Italy.

Also, loosehead prop Cian Healy swapped with Jack McGrath, and No. 8 CJ Stander with Jack Conan. "Yes, that is not ideal but at the same time if you want to learn what better environment in what will be a really white hot atmosphere in the Aviva on Saturday".

Ahead of Saturday's Six Nations clash at Aviva Stadium which could see Ireland make it three from three with victory, Nathan was joined by ex-Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris and the Irish Independent's Ruaidhri O'Connor to run the rule over the team.

"Tadhg is close as well".

In the second row, Ryan comes in for his second start of the competition to partner Devin Toner in the second row.

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"After just over three minutes last weekend [against Italy], Andrew had to come on to replace Tadgh and did a sterling job, for 76 and a half minutes. I know Rory Best, with over 100 caps, still asks himself questions before he plays", said Schmidt, when asked if he had questions over promoted trio Porter, Ryan and Farrell.

Schmidt maintains, however, that he expects both Furlong and Henderson to be fit in time to face Scotland in Dublin on March 10.

"The forward pack still have just as much enthusiasm for what they need to roll their sleeves up and get ready for on Saturday". Halfpenny is almost certain to replace Gareth Anscombe at full-back, but the latter put in an eye-catching display against England when switched to fly-half in the last quarter. It means Schmidt has selected a different second row pairing in each of the three games thus far. But the progress just stalled a little bit.

"He'll be behind Ports, so that's going to be a strong side for us". I've had a couple of bangs on the head a couple of years ago which kind of knocked my eyes out of sync with the gel in the ears so I went to the balance centre in Dublin and got a few exercises.

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