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Monday 18
March

Rugby Union

Ireland drop O'Brien for France battle

8th March 2019, 18:31 by Tom Hill

Flanker Sean O'Brien has been omitted from the Ireland matchday squad to play France in Sunday's Six Nations match in Dublin.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has named Josh van der Flier at open-side flanker in one of seven changes following the unconvincing win over Italy two weeks ago.

Garry Ringrose comes in at outside centre after recovering from injury with Cian Healy and Rory Best restored to the front row.

Iain Henderson and James Ryan start in the second row and CJ Stander returns from injury to play at number eight.

O'Brien's form has not been good enough, according to Schmidt, and he is backing Van Der Flier to shine.

He told reporters: "Josh Van Der Flier hasn't let us down at all. So it's a perfect opportunity to put him back in there, so he's very much keen and ready to go.

"With Sean, Jack Conan was initially due to start against Scotland, so we wanted to give him an opportunity to get back in with a foot in the door and demonstrate what he can do off the bench.

"As tempted as we were with Tadhg Beirne, he's just been a little bit sore this week coming back from injury. He was in the mix but he's going to get the weekend off, to come back in refreshed and train next week."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Tom Hill offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.

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