Two Changes For Ireland As Lionheart O’Mahony Brings Up 100 Caps

Rome , Italy - 25 February 2023; Peter O'Mahony of Ireland after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Italy and Ireland at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy. Photo: Getty Images
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Ireland coach Andy Farrell has made two changes in the pack for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup showdown with Scotland at the Stade de France.

Fit-again Dan Sheehan replaces hooker Ronan Kelleher.

The Ulster veteran second-row Iain Henderson also makes his first start of the tournament, replacing Leinster’s James Ryan who drops to the bench.

Jack Conan’s fit enough for a place among the replacements, while Stuart McCloskey provides cover for the centres.

The backline is unchanged as the centre partnership of Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose start their 24th test together. As a combination, they have only been on the losing side four times.

Peter O’Mahony wins his 100th cap for Ireland, having reached a century of tests overall in their last match against South Africa (his 99th for Ireland, plus one for the British and Irish Lions).

O’Mahony will become the 10th player to reach the milestone for Ireland, following in the footsteps of current RWC 2023 team-mates Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Keith Earls.

The loose forward made his debut for Ireland in a 42-10 win against Italy in February 2012.

Other than a three-match ban in the 2021 Six Nations, O’Mahony has only missed three tests in the last four-year RWC cycle (v USA in July 2021, v Fiji in Nov 2022 and v Italy in Aug 2023).

Johnny Sexton will set a new Ireland record for most appearances against Scotland (16), moving clear of Brian O’Driscoll, Cian Healy, Ronan O’Gara and Rory Best. Sexton is also Ireland’s leading points scorer v Scotland (138).

Scrum-half Conor Murray will make his 17th Rugby World Cup appearance, equalling the record held by Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll, if he comes off the bench.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named his match-day 23.

Second-row Grant Gilchrist, scrum-half Ali Price and right-wing Darcy Graham retain their places in the starting XV after the 84-0 win over Romania.

Captain Jamie Ritchie passed fit to return at blindside flanker after suffering a head knock in their previous match against Tonga.