Declan Kidney puts off fly-half decision ahead of France clash

Last Updated: 05/03/13 5:53pm

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Ireland coach Declan Kidney has made three changes to his team to face France but has been forced to delay naming his fly-half.

Jonathan Sexton has been ruled out of Saturday's game in Dublin by injury and Paddy Jackson - who made his first start against Scotland - has a tight hamstring.

Kidney will wait until Thursday before deciding who will start at 10, with Ian Madigan his other option if Jackson is not fit to start.

The confirmed changes see Mike McCarthy come into the second row in place of Donncha O'Callaghan, loosehead Cian Healy - suspended for the defeat at Murrayfield - replace Tom Court, and Fergus McFadden comes in for the injured wing Craig Gilroy.

Ulster star Gilroy has failed to recover sufficiently from his groin strain and has been ruled out of the game.

Kidney said: "Paddy's chances of pulling through are very good and he should be good to train on Thursday.

"We'll make the choice between Paddy and Ian then. I was told just a moment ago that it will be better to give Jonathan Sexton another week to recover.

"Jonny ran at top speed this morning. It would be easy to put him in against France, but it's better that he builds up his strength for another week."

Substitute prop Declan Fitzpatrick has also been ruled out with a calf strain and his replacement has yet to be announced.

Ireland: 15 R Kearney, 14 F McFadden, 13 B O'Driscoll, 12 L Marshall, 11 K Earls, 10 P Jackson/ I Madigan, 9 C Murray; 1 C Healy, 2 R Best, 3 M Ross, 4 M McCarthy, 5 D Ryan, 6 P O'Mahony, 7 S O'Brien, 8 J Heaslip (c).
Replacements: 16 S Cronin, 17 D Kilcoyne, 18 TBC, 19 D O'Callaghan, 20 I Henderson, 21 E Reddan, 22 TBC, 23 L Fitzgerald.

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