Six Nations – Ireland without Cian Healy

Ireland will seek their first victory of the 6 Nations Championship v Italy at Croke Park today without Cian Healy, who obtained a hamstring strain in training.

Healy made his 1st appearance of the championship from the bench in the defeat by England 2 weeks ago ago, having recovered from knee surgery. His place  goes to Finlay Bealham, the uncapped loose-head prop who plays for Connacht.

Born in Canberra, Bealham, 24, moved to Ireland in 2010 and qualifies through his grandmother, from Enniskillen. He adds further southern hemisphere influence to the team, with Jared Payne recalled at centre after missing the Twickenham defeat with a hamstring injury and CJ Stander, starting at blind-side flanker.

“It’s a great opportunity for Finlay to get a taste of Test match rugby,” Simon Easterby, the forwards coach, said. “He’s impressed everyone and now he’s got an opportunity to show what he can do at the highest level.”

After the first 3 games brought a draw and two defeats which ruined hopes of a third consecutive Six Nations title, Joe Schmidt, the Ireland coach, denied that the selection was unnecessarily conservative to  Italy, with Stuart McCloskey dropped for Payne after a decent debut against England.

BUY VINTAGE RUGBY SHIRTS

Rory Best, the captain, advised that the players rather than the coach should bear the brunt of criticism at a time of transition,  that the “real Ireland” will be seen v Italy, who are also without a win after the 36-20 defeat to Scotland in Italy 2 weeks ago.

“There has been a bit of a steep learning curve for some players,” Best said. “There are standards we expect to live by and play by, and we haven’t reached them.”

Teams

Ireland: S Zebo; A Trimble, J Payne, R Henshaw, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best (capt), M Ross; D Ryan, D Toner; CJ Stander,
J Van der Flier, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, F Bealham, N White, U Dillane, R Ruddock, K Marmion, I Madigan, F McFadden.

Italy: D Odiete; L Sarto, M Campagnaro, G Garcia, M Bellini; E Padovani, G Palazzani; A Lovotti, D Giazzon, L Cittadini; G Biagi, M Fuser, F Minto,
A Zanni, S Parisse. Replacements: O Fabiani, M Zanusso, D Chistolini, Q Geldenhuys, A Steyn, A Lucchese, K Haimona, L McLean.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s