DUBLIN, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton and backrows Sean O‘Brien and Jamie Heaslip will return to the starting line up for the Six Nations’ visit of France as coach Joe Schmidt named a near full strength side on Thursday.
The experienced trio, who were part of the British and Irish Lions 2013 test winning team in Australia, missed last weekend’s opening 26-3 victory in Italy, with O‘Brien pulling out after damaging his hamstring in the warm-up.
Hooker Rory Best is also fit to start after coming off with a head injury early in the second half in Rome while prop Cian Healy, who last played in September, returns to the bench.
Ireland: 15-Rob Kearney, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Jared Payne, 12-Robbie Henshaw, 11-Simon Zebo, 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray, 8-Jamie Heaslip, 7-Sean O‘Brien, 6-Peter O‘Mahony, 5-Paul O‘Connell (captain), 4-Devin Toner, 3-Mike Ross, 2-Rory Best, 1-Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Cian Healy, 18-Martin Moore, 19-Iain Henderson, 20-Jordi Murphy, 21-Isaac Boss, 22-Ian Madigan, 23-Felix Jones. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Justin Palmer)