Ryan making his 2nd test start for Ireland vs France in 6N
DUBLIN (AP) Leinster lock James Ryan dislodged Ireland mainstay Devin Toner to make just his second test start on Saturday against France in Six Nations rugby.
Ryan will earn his fifth cap at the Stade de France, partnering British and Irish Lions lock Iain Henderson.
Even ahead of his first full cap in the autumn, Ryan was challenged by Ireland captain Rory Best to step up as a leader. And now coach Joe Schmidt has promoted the former under-20s skipper to face Jacques Brunel’s new-look France in Paris.
”It’s a position we don’t have huge depth in, and we’ve given James an opportunity,” Schmidt said. ”We’re really looking forward to seeing what he delivers on Saturday.”
Rob Kearney is set to win his 79th cap after he held off the challenge of Leinster’s new sensation Jordan Larmour to start at fullback.
Josh van der Flier gets the nod at openside flanker in the absence of the injured Sean O’Brien, while Luke McGrath is on the bench to cover scrumhalf ahead of Kieran Marmion.
Fergus McFadden’s fine form with Leinster has earned the wing a place on the bench, leaving him in line for his first test action since the 2016 Six Nations.
Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Cian Healy. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Fergus McFadden.