LONDON – Ireland welcomed back prop Tadhg Furlong and were able to call on centre Garry Ringrose for the first time in nine months as coach Joe Schmidt named his side for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Scotland.
Furlong missed the 37-27 victory over Wales last time out alongside fellow British and Irish Lion forward Iain Henderson.
Henderson, although fully fit, was unable to dislodge Devon Toner as Schmidt stuck with the same second row partnership for Saturday’s clash that could move them one step away from a grand slam.
“I think the three of them have done very well for us in the championship so far and it was probably just a case of trying to keep a bit of continuity,” Schmidt said, referring to competition between Henderson, Toner and 21-year-old James Ryan.
After Scotland’s sensational victory over England last time out, Ireland are five points clear of Eddie Jones’ Six Nations champions at the top of the table.
Victory over Scotland, who are a point behind England in third, would leave Ireland 80 minutes from a clean sweep and set up a St Patrick’s Day trip to Twickenham to complete what would be only their third ever Grand Slam.