Joe Schmidt: Ireland head coach defends ‘very varied game’

Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg testing the winds at Murrayfield yesterday

SNS Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg testing the winds at Murrayfield yesterday

Andy Dunne joined OTB's Thursday Night Rugby to preview Ireland's Six Nations clash against Scotland in Murrayfield this Saturday.

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Partnering Bundee Aki in the center of the pitch, will be Munster's Chris Farrell.

The returning British and Irish Lion Sean O'Brien replaces Josh van der Flier in the back row.

"Robbie has a dead leg and just hasn't recovered in time", Schmidt said.

Garry Ringrose's hamstring injury opens the door for Henshaw to go back into the centres, with coach Joe Schmidt understood to be ready to restore Kearney to the No.15 jersey.

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Scotland are unbeaten in seven home Six Nations matches since losing to England in February 2016 and the progression of Edinburgh and Glasgow to this season's European Champions Cup quarter-finals has given them an extra boost.

Schmidt, asked if Kearney would have been included at full-back even if Henshaw had been fit, replied: "Probably once Garry Ringrose was ruled out it was going to be trying to keep a little continuity as best we can and get as cohesive as we can in a short space of time".

"It's massive", captain Rory Best said of losing Toner on Friday.

Toner's absence has exacerbated the prior lock losses of Iain Henderson to a finger problem and Tadhg Beirne to a knee complaint.

James Ryan and Quinn Roux were playing Scotland this weekend, with Ultan Dillane the backup for his first test since November 2017.

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