Ireland name Rob Kearney and Sean OBrien for clash against Wales

Ireland name Rob Kearney and Sean OBrien for clash against Wales

Meanwhile, Tadgh Beirne is set to make his first Six Nations start for Ireland.

Schmidt backed tournament rookie Beirne to shine on his return to Welsh soil.

"Yeah, it is the biggest challenge of his fairly small worldwide career so far (it will be his fifth cap)", said head coach Joe Schmidt.

Jones said on Thursday that Wales were "starting to look a bit tired" after making "more tackles than anyone else in the tournament", and were facing an Ireland side "that seems to be peaking at the right time".

Coach Joe Schmidt has also made changes to the bench, with Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux and Kieran Marmion all coming in.

"He will know them well".

Sean O'Brien slots in at openside flanker after a knock to Josh van der Flier early in the French game forced him off. Jack Conan who made a strong impact off the bench against the French once again provides back row cover on the bench.

"He's very, very motivated to get back to that blockbusting best that has seen him as one of the players who has been incredibly influential in games that he's played".

The inclusion of Rob Kearney at fullback means Jordan Larmour will be on a bench which includes three Connacht players - Roux, Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty.

Kearney and O'Brien therefore keep the Leinster contingent in the Ireland XV at seven, with just over two weeks to go before their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium on March 30.

Ireland still have an outside chance of winning this year's championship, but would need to beat Wales and hope that Scotland pull off a shock against England.

Wales are aiming to win their third Grand Slam under Gatland in what will be his 50th match in charge.



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