Robbie Henshaw, left, and Bundee Aki of Ireland after the Six Nations Championship match against Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Henshaw to start for Ireland in Grand Slam showdown

Robbie Henshaw has been named in the Ireland starting team for this Saturday's Grand Slam showdown with England (kick-off 5pm).

It will be the Athlone man's first start in this season's Six Nations campaign, having been introduced as a substitute in last Saturday's bruising victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Henshaw has been selected at outside centre where he will be joined by former Connacht colleague Bundee Aki, with Garry Ringrose having been ruled out of the encounter at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, who is preparing for what is planned to be his last Six Nations game, will be partnered at half-back by Jamison Gibson Park.

Sexton equalled Ronan O’Gara’s Six Nations Championship all-time points scorer record (557 points) against Scotland and is likely to become the outright top points scorer this weekend.

Ireland are bidding to win the Grand Slam for the fourth time in their history – with the previous successes coming in 1948, 2009 and 2018.

Depending on the result of the France v Wales match (kick-off 2.45pm), Ireland could still win the Six Nations title even if they lose to England. However, all the focus is on keeping the winning streak going which would ensure a coveted Grand Slam.

With Ireland reinforcing their status as the number one ranked team in the world in this year's Six Nations thus far, Andy Farrell's men are warm favourites to defeat the English. Steve Borthwick's side are seen as being in transition at present and suffered a heavy defeat to France in their last outing.

Indeed, BoyleSports bookmakers are already paying out on bets placed on Ireland clinching the Grand Slam.

At the time of writing, the England team for Saturday's game had yet to be named.

Ireland’s final game of the Six Nations will be broadcast live on Virgin Media and ITV television.

Ireland team v England:

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 29 caps

14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 13 caps

13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 61 caps

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 45 caps

11. James Lowe (Leinster) 19 caps

10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 112 caps (c)

9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 24 caps

1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps

2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 64 caps

4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 10 caps

5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps

6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 93 caps

7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps

8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps.


16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 33 caps

17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 122 caps

18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 8 caps

19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 10 caps

20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 37 caps

21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 104 caps

22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 18 caps

23. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 4 caps.