VIDEO: Keith Earls remains at outside centre; Devin Toner back in the second row

Keith Earls retains his place in the centre for Ireland’s crucial match against France on Sunday, with Jared Payne absent from the matchday squad.

Payne missed last week’s game against Italy with a bruised foot, but had been expected to return for the battle to decide which team tops the Pool D table.

A quarter-final against the All Blacks awaits the loser of Sunday’s game, with Argentina the likely opponents for the winner.

Rob Kearney is back in the starting XV having fully recovered from the gluteal strain that kept him out last week. His brother Dave and Tommy Bowe start on the wings.

Earls is partnered with Robbie Hanshaw in the centre, while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray start in the half-backs as expected.

VIDEO: Keith Earls remains at outside centre; Devin Toner back in the second row

The biggest surprise in the the forwards is that in-form lock Iain Henderson is named on the bench, with Devin Toner instead joining Paul O’Connell in the second row.

Cian Healy starts against France, with Jack McGrath on the bench, Rory Best and Mike Ross making up the front row.

Jamie Heaslip starts at number eight and is flanked by Peter O'Mahony and Sean O’Brien.

Ireland team: 15. Rob Kearney, 14. Tommy Bowe, 13. Keith Earls, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Johnny 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.

Replacements: 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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