British & Irish Lions prop Cian Healy is back in the starting line-up for Ireland this weekend after Joe Schmidt named his side to take on France in their key World Cup clash.
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Healy, who toured Australia with the Lions in 2013, comes in for Jack McGrath in the front-row as Ireland look to extend a run that hasn’t seen them lose to Les Bleus since 2011.
Both teams head into the game knowing that the winner is guaranteed to top Pool D and likely avoid the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.
Schmidt has picked a strong side as a result – selecting ten British & Irish Lions in his starting XV even though his side are already guaranteed progression to the knockout stages.
Jared Payne’s foot injury is not sufficiently recovered to warrant his return meaning that Keith Earls partners Robbie Henshaw in midfield with Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray in the half-backs.
The back three sees Tommy Bowe and Dave Kearney on the wings while Rob Kearney returns at full-back.
In the forwards the big selection decision sees Devin Toner preferred to Iain Henderson in the second row to partner skipper Paul O’Connell.
Healy, Mike Ross and Rory Best form the front row with the back-row comprising Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip.
And Schmidt admitted he has had to juggle his selection with injuries and the quarter-final in mind.
“We felt it was prudent to leave Jared for another week. With the type of the game that is (the quarter-final), we want to have a fully-fit squad for that,” he said.
“[Picking Devin Toner] was another really tight call. Dev has been a big game player for us and he gives us a little bit more line-out capability. Iain will add value and, again, it is a case of making sure that we have a few things covered for next week as well.
“We are qualified and we are very keen to qualify at the top of the pool and, at the same time, knowing the reality that regardless of where you finish in the pool, there is a game next week against a side that is incredibly capable.”
Ireland team to face France at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday October 11, kick-off 4.45pm.
15. Rob Kearney
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Keith Earls
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Dave Kearney
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Mike Ross
4. Devin Toner
5. Paul O'Connell
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip
16. Richardt Strauss
17. Jack McGrath
18. Nathan White
19. Iain Henderson
20. Chris Henry
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Luke Fitzgerald
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