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

Rob Kearney returns to the Irish backline alongside Jacob Stockdale. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

15 Rob Kearney

Club: Leinster
Age: 32
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 95kg (14st 13lb)
Caps: 87

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

Club: Munster
Age: 31
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 87kg (13st 9lbs)
Caps: 73

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

Club: Munster
Age: 25
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 110kg (17st 4lbs)
Caps: 3

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.

Chris Farrell is set to earn his fourth Ireland cap against Scotland on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Scitkland/Inpho
Chris Farrell is set to earn his fourth Ireland cap against Scotland on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Scitkland/Inpho

12 Bundee Aki

Club: Connacht
Age: 28
Height: 6’
Weight: 101kg (15st 12lbs)
Caps: 13

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

Club: Ulster
Age: 22
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 103kg (16st 3lbs)
Caps: 15

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

Club: Leinster
Age: 33
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 92kg (14st 6lbs)
Caps: 79

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

Club: Munster
Age: 29
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 93kg (14st 6lbs)
Caps: 68

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.

Conor Murray’s boxkicking will need to improve against the Scots and Stuart Hogg. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho
Conor Murray’s boxkicking will need to improve against the Scots and Stuart Hogg. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

1 Cian Healy

Age: 31
Club: Leinster
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 106kg (18st 1lb)
Caps: 85

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

Club: Ulster
Age: 36
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 106kg (16st 9lbs)
Caps: 114

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

Club: Leinster
Age: 26
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 126kg (19st 11lbs)
Caps: 29

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

Club: Connacht
Age: 28
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 122kg (19st, 2lbs)
Caps: 9

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.

Quinn Roux replaces the injured Devin Toner against Scotland. Photograh: Tom Hogan/The Irish Times
Quinn Roux replaces the injured Devin Toner against Scotland. Photograh: Tom Hogan/The Irish Times

5 James Ryan

Club: Leinster
Age: 22
Height: 6’8”
Weight: 108kg (17st)
Caps: 14

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

Club: Munster
Age: 29
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 107kg (16st 11lbs)
Caps: 53

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

Club: Leinster
Age: 31
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 108kg (17st)
Caps: 53

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

Club: Leinster
Age: 26
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 111kg (17st, 5lbs)
Caps: 11

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.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.