|Six Nations: Wales v Ireland|
|Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Date: Friday, 10 March
Coach Joe Schmidt has named an unchanged starting line-up. Ireland’s remains unchanged for Friday’s Six Nations game against Wales.
Schmidt has opted to retain Garry Ringrose at outside centre following Jared Payne, 31, missing training on Monday because of an ankle knock.
Following the kidney injury, Payne has returned to Ulster action in the last fortnight after three months out while Rob Kearney remains at full-back after recovering from a groin injury picked up in the win over France.
The only change in Ireland’s match-day squad sees wing Tommy Bowe coming in for his injured Ulster team-mate Andrew Trimble in the replacements.
Trimble will miss the remainder of the Six Nations after breaking a hand in Ulster’s Pro12 win over Treviso last Friday.
Lock Iain Henderson and flanker Peter O’Mahony both on the bench following the impressive contributions after coming on as replacements against the French.
Ireland ‘s vice-captain Jamie Heaslip will make his 100th Test appearance in Friday’s game as he wins his 95th cap in addition to five games for the British & Irish Lions.
Ulster star Payne and Robbie Henshaw have formed Ireland’s centre partnership on 13 occasions following Brian O’Driscoll’s retirement in 2014.
Following the team announcement, Schmidt revealed that Payne had looked “sharp” as he resumed training on Wednesday morning but said this wasn’t sufficient time to select him.
The partnership was speculation last week that Payne was in line to replace Ringrose at the Principality Stadium but the New Zealand-born player’s absence from training on Monday meant Schmidt was always going to retain the 22-year-old Leinster centre.
Ireland team: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Zebo; Sexton, Murray; McGrath, Best (capt), Furlong; Ryan, Toner; CJ Stander, O’Brien, Heaslip.
Replacements: N Scannell, Healy, J Ryan, Henderson, O’Mahony, Marmion, Jackson, Bowe.