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Ireland's Furlong, Henderson miss out on Wales clash

Ireland's Furlong, Henderson miss out on Wales clash

Ireland's Furlong, Henderson miss out on Wales clash

Episode 51 of The Hard Yards features class interviews with Tadhg Furlong and Shane Williams, and previews Ireland vs. Wales in the Six Nations.

Cian Healy has backed "freak show" James Ryan and powerhouse prop Andrew Porter to cement Ireland's scrum against Wales.

"You don't suddenly replace world-class players".

Porter was eye-catching upon his early arrival for Furlong against the Italians, and holds off competition from John Ryan at tighthead, with the Munster man on the bench.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made five changes for Saturday's NatWest 6 Nations match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 2.15pm). What we do have is Andrew Porter who is a really promising young player who we are excited about.

Many pundits feel the Six Nations is hurtling towards a title showdown between England and Ireland at Twickenham on March 17, with both sides unbeaten after two rounds of the championship. We won the World Cup warm-up out there, got a draw there last time and won a couple of years before that.

Tadhg Furlong also failed in his bid to return from a hamstring problem.

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"We thought on Tuesday he might well make it".

Schmidt added that there is an element of going into the unknown this weekend, but there are no question marks over the ability of Porter, Ryan and Farrell to step up.

Elsewhere, centre Robbie Henshaw is absent as expected due to his season-ending shoulder injury, and in his place Munster's Chris Farrell comes in for his Six Nations debut, partnering Connacht's Bundee Aki in midfield.

In an Irish context O'Sullivan leads the way from his time as national coach (2001-2008), 23 Test matches more than 2009 Grand Slam winning coach Kidney, who on Saturday will be joined by Schmidt on 53 Tests after the game against Wales.

"If you look at Ports firstly, over the a year ago and a half what he's had to take in his stride, changing sides of the scrum, how he's developed that part of his game, it's more exciting than nervous to see what he's going to provide", the prop said.

"But for me, it's another game of rugby where we get the opportunity to try to get as many of those fine margins to fall in our favour, and I just know the players will work as hard as they can to make sure they do".

"I just don't think it's worth it with what's coming up (Scotland and England)".

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