Joe Schmidt has made only one change to Irish side set to face England in Grand Slam showdown

Joe Schmidt has made only one change to the Irish side set to face England in a Grand Slam showdown in Twickenham on Paddy's Day.

Lock Iain Henderson will replace Devin Toner in the second row.

Joe Schmidt has made only one change to Irish side set to face England in Grand Slam showdown

Schmidt had a full squad to choose from with no injury worries following the win over Scotland.

England however, have made seven changes as they hope to avoid three defeats in a row.

Peter O'Mahony, Rob Kearney and Cian Healy have been passed fit for Ireland's all-out assault on a NatWest 6 Nations clean sweep.

British and Irish Lions lock Henderson's selection represents the sole change from Ireland's 28-8 win over Scotland, that sealed their third Six Nations title in five years.

Flanker O'Mahony and full-back Kearney sat out training on Tuesday, but have since proved their fitness to start the St Patrick's Day clash. Prop Healy appeared unsteady on his feet against Scotland, but Ireland insisted he suffered a shoulder "stinger", not a head injury.

Tensions around Saturday's London battle have been raised considerably by the emergence of a video where England boss Eddie Jones referred to the "scummy Irish".

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has received an apology from the Rugby Football Union.

Jones apologised on Wednesday after footage emerged of him referring to Joe Schmidt's team as the "scummy Irish" and Wales as a "little s*** place".

The video showed Jones during a talk on leadership for Fuso, the Japanese parent company of England sponsors Mitsubishi.

Jones insisted he was "very sorry" after the video came to light.

Joe Schmidt has made only one change to Irish side set to face England in Grand Slam showdown

Schmidt insisted England boss Jones' filmed comments will not alter his side's approach this week.

"I'm not exactly sure what they were," said Schmidt. "They are not directly relevant to us to be honest.

"Those words don't impact on how we play or how his team plays and that's our focus."

Asked if the furore over Jones' comments will hinder Ireland's preparation, Schmidt said: "I don't think so.

"I know it's probably at the stage of being boring, which we don't want to be described as, but the bubble we have here allows us to focus on the task in hand."

Assistant match referee Marius van der Westhuizen acted as an official in England's Tuesday training session, leading to questions of a possible conflict of interest.

But head coach Schmidt insisted Ireland will back Van der Westhuizen's integrity, despite being taken aback by his appearance at England's training session.

"That is a bit of a surprise," said Schmidt, of Van der Westhuizen helping out at England training.

"I'm sure in retrospect people are probably thinking it's not the best thing to do.

"I know Marius and I would have no hesitation in standing by his integrity.

"I don't think it will affect his decision-making and we'll stand by him as an official on Saturday."

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Dan Leavy, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

-Digital Desk and PA

More on this topic

John Feehan steps down as chief executive of Six Nations and B&I Lions John Feehan steps down as chief executive of Six Nations and B&I Lions

Record-breaking Jacob Stockdale named Six Nations Player of the ChampionshipRecord-breaking Jacob Stockdale named Six Nations Player of the Championship

Sexton credits Ireland's central contracts for helping give them an edge on EnglandSexton credits Ireland's central contracts for helping give them an edge on England

More than 1.3 million TV3 viewers tuned in to see Ireland win the Grand SlamMore than 1.3 million TV3 viewers tuned in to see Ireland win the Grand Slam

More in this Section

Back-row trio could still make England’s clash with IrelandBack-row trio could still make England’s clash with Ireland

Liverpool sticking to their guns and not willing to loan Ryan Kent to RangersLiverpool sticking to their guns and not willing to loan Ryan Kent to Rangers

Republic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for CelticRepublic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for Celtic

Aidan O'Mahony denies Kerry 'witch hunt' against All-Ireland final referee David GoughAidan O'Mahony denies Kerry 'witch hunt' against All-Ireland final referee David Gough


Lifestyle

Triathlete Carolyn Hayes is flat out. Since October 2018, she’s literally been racing around the world.On the treble: Triathlete Carolyn Hayes goes flat out to win a place in the Olympics

Children starting or going back to school is a reminder of how we all need an energy boost when sitting at a desk for hours, no matter what our age.Energy fix: Top 8 snacks for children

A sommelier shares her top tips.The dos and don’ts of serving wine – you just might have been doing it all wrong

It’s that time of year again; the long summer days are numbered, summer’s lease is all too short as she takes her last few breaths.Learning Points: Top tips on coping with back to school stress for you and the kids

More From The Irish Examiner