/ Six Nations 2014

Peter O'Mahony recalled for France showdown, Ian Madigan on the bench

Updated: Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 16:29 | Comments

Peter O'Mahony starts for Ireland as they attempt to win the 6 Nations title The Ireland team were put through their paces in the fog this morning
Peter O'Mahony starts for Ireland as they attempt to win the 6 Nations title The Ireland team were put through their paces in the fog this morning

Peter O'Mahony has returned to the Ireland starting XV to play France in Saturday’s crunch RBS 6 Nations clash in the only change from the starting side that comprehensively beat Italy a week ago.

Scrum-half Conor Murray and loosehead prop Cian Healy, who incurred injuries during the win over Azzuri, have also been selected in the starting XV.

There is also a change on the bench, where Ian Madigan comes in for Paddy Jackson as the out-half replacement. Madigan can also cover other positions across the backline.

O’Mahony, a standout performer in Ireland's victories over Scotland and Wales in the first two rounds, missed the 46-7 victory over Italy with a hamstring problem but has recovered to take his place in the back-row alongside Chris Henry and Jamie Heaslip.

In the tight five, Rory Best and Mike Ross will pack down with Healy in the front row with Devin Toner and captain Paul O’Connell selected to start in the second row.

Behind the scrum, Racing Metro-based Jonathan Sexton starts at out-half with Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll set to continue their record-breaking partnership in the centres. Andrew Trimble, Dave Kearney and Rob Kearney, ever-present on the wings and at full-back respectively during the Championship, are also selected again.

The return of O'Mahony means there is also a reshuffle among the forward replacements, with Iain Henderson dropping out of the starting XV and into one of the replacement spots.

Rhys Ruddock drops out of the squad.

Ireland's mobile and dynamic front-row replacement group of Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath and Marty Moore is also retained, alongside scrum-half and backline replacements Eoin Reddan and Fergus McFadden.

Ireland are likely to win the Six Nations championship if they can secure only their second win in Paris in 42 years.

Points difference could come into the equation with England, who play Italy, 49 behind as things stand.

England have a track record of inflicting heavy defeats on Italy but their last three victories in Rome have been by five points or less.

France, who have won 11 of the last 14 meetings with Ireland, are also technically in the running for the title, but would need to beat Ireland heavily to have a chance of passing England out, should England win.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney (Leinster), 14 Andrew Trimble (Ulster), 13 Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), 12 Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), 11 Dave Kearney (Leinster), 10 Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro), 9 Conor Murray (Munster), 1 Cian Healy (Leinster), 2 Rory Best (Ulster), 3 Mike Ross (Leinster), 4 Devin Toner (Leinster), 5 Paul O'Connell (capt; Munster), 6 Peter O’Mahony (Munster), 7 Chris Henry (Ulster), 8 Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin (Leinster), 17 Jack McGrath (Leinster), 18 Marty Moore (Leinster), 19 Iain Henderson (Ulster), 20 Jordi Murphy (Leinster), 21 Eoin Reddan (Leinster), 22 Ian Madigan (Leinster), 23 Fergus McFadden (Leinster).

Live television coverage of the RBS 6 Nations from 12:00 on Saturday 5 March (12:30 Italy v England, 14:45 Wales v Scotland, 17:00 France v Ireland) on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage of France v Ireland on Saturday Sport (14:00) on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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