Murray misses out, Payne returns for Ireland

Ireland's Conor Murray will miss the game against England
Ireland's Conor Murray will miss the game against England
©PA

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has been ruled out of the final round of Six Nations clash against England at Aviva Stadium on Saturday due to a shoulder injury.

The 27-year-old sustained the blow during the game against Wales at Principality Stadium, where he was replaced in the 45th minute. His place in the line-up has been taken by Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion.

Meanwhile, fullback Rob Kearney will also miss the game against England due to a knee injury, allowing Jared Payne to return to the XV after almost four months. The 31-year-old recovered from a serious kidney injury that he sustained during the autumn internationals.

The third change from head coach Joe Schmidt comes with the inclusion of Iain Henderson in the place of Devin Toner, who is now among the replacements.

Schmidt confirmed that Murray failed the fitness test on Thursday and is hoping for the replacements to make use of the opportunity against a rampaging England side, who are on a 18-match winning streak.

"Conor Murray trained okay on Tuesday without contact," said Schmidt.

"We fitness tested him today and just felt that he wasn't going to be quite 100 per cent.

"Not that he couldn't function, just that once contact came back in and he got more bruising on top of bruising on that shoulder, we just felt that if we lost him early in the game, then you're vulnerable.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for Kieran Marmion. Iain Henderson came off the bench and did really well last week.

"Between Donnacha Ryan and Dev [Toner] we just wanted to give him a chance to start. Donnacha also did well last week, so it was just trying to get that balance."

Ireland team to take on England

Payne; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Zebo; Sexton, Marmion; McGrath, Best, Furlong; Ryan, Henderson; Stander, O'Brien, Heaslip.

Replacements: N Scannell, Healy, J Ryan, Toner, O'Mahony, L McGrath, Jackson, Conway.

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