Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland - Ireland player profiles
Patrick Madden looks at Joe Schmidt’s XV looking to bounce back in Edinburgh
Rob Kearney returns to the Irish backline alongside Jacob Stockdale. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
15 Rob Kearney
Weight: 95kg (14st 13lb)
Ireland’s performance against England in his absence highlighted his ongoing value to the team. Will need to be alert to Finn Russell’s cute kicking in behind for Scotland’s lightning runners.
14 Keith Earls
Weight: 87kg (13st 9lbs)
Was bullied out of the England game with some questionable hits and was at fault for the opening try. Scotland’s flamboyant style should mean there is more room for him to attack on Saturday.
13 Chris Farrell
Weight: 110kg (17st 4lbs)
Farrell has endured an injury-ravaged year since earning his third cap against Wales in the 2018 Six Nations. A powerful ball carrier, he possesses soft hands, a slick offload and runs intelligent lines.
12 Bundee Aki
Weight: 101kg (15st 12lbs)
Performed admirably against England and Manu Tuilagi but struggled to assert any real influence on the game - a midfield battle with Sam Johnson will be physical but more manageable.
11 Jacob Stockdale
Weight: 103kg (16st 3lbs)
Back in his box slightly after his over-confidence when covering led to England’s second try. However he was Ireland’s best outlet and should find space easier to come by at Murrayfield.
10 Jonathan Sexton
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 92kg (14st 6lbs)
Strangely off-colour against England, Sexton’s passing was poor and he struggled to dictate with the boot. He is likely to get an easier afternoon against Scotland physically, in a game which will require his absolute control.
9 Conor Murray
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 93kg (14st 6lbs)
Both Irish halfbacks struggled against England, with Murray’s box kicking particularly poor by his standards. He can’t kick down the throat of Stuart Hogg at Murrayfield, so must take more initiative with the ball in hand.
1 Cian Healy
Weight: 106kg (18st 1lb)
Scored Ireland’s try in the opener and was a resilient physical presence in the face of relentless English muscle. Can help the visitors dominate the Scottish scrum at Murrayfield with WP Nel absent.
2 Rory Best
Weight: 106kg (16st 9lbs)
His throwing under pressure continues to come under scrutiny, and he doesn’t have Devin Toner to bail him out in Edinburgh. As captain, he failed to get Jerome Garces on side against England.
3 Tadhg Furlong
Weight: 126kg (19st 11lbs)
It was strange to see Furlong being driven backwards in the tackle against England, but there is unlikely to be a repeat this weekend. Expect a ferocious response in the loose.
4 Quinn Roux
Weight: 122kg (19st, 2lbs)
With Ireland locks being felled like trees Roux gets to make his first Six Nations appearance against the Scots. He has been leading the Connacht lineout and will provide a solid if unspectacular foil for Ryan.
5 James Ryan
Weight: 108kg (17st)
For once, Ryan didn’t get everything his own way against England and defeat - just the second of his Test career - will have hurt a lot. If he improves this weekend, so will Ireland.
6 Peter O’Mahony
Weight: 107kg (16st 11lbs)
Ireland’s warhorse was typically relentless against England on a torrid evening for his pack. Work on the floor and scrambling in defence will be crucial against a fast and loose Scotland side.
7 Seán O’Brien
Weight: 108kg (17st)
O’Brien delivered a powerful cameo against England, and while he wasn’t given enough time to affect the outcome, he carried with enough punch to suggest he can make a serious impact at Murrayfield.
8 Jack Conan
Weight: 111kg (17st, 5lbs)
A straightforward selection at number eight with CJ Stander injured, Conan will provide plenty of ball-carrying ballast and should dovetail nicely with Murray at the base of the scrum.