Healy to earn 100th rugby cap for Ireland, Henshaw at center

DUBLIN (AP) — Prop Cian Healy will become the sixth Irishman to play a century of rugby tests after being selected in the team to take on France in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Rory Best, Paul O’Connell and John Hayes are the other Irish players to reach the 100-cap mark in the men’s game.

The starting lineup contains one change from last weekend’s 50-17 win over Italy, with Robbie Henshaw coming in at outside center in place of the injured Garry Ringrose. Chris Farrell takes his place among the reserves after Henshaw’s promotion.

Chasing a fourth Six Nations triumph in seven years, the Irish head into the final round in first place — a point ahead of England and France.

A bonus-point win in Paris will secure the title for Ireland. A win without a bonus point allows England the opportunity to leapfrog Ireland with a heavy bonus-point win away against Italy.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell, who has been in charge of the team for around a year, said he felt lucky to be able to select Healy for his 100th cap.

“I actually feel like a cheat really,” Farrell said, “because there’s far more coaches that have done far more down the line than I have. But the group feels unbelievably privileged to be involved in such an occasion with Cian, and in such a big game as well.

“I think the key word for Cian to describe him has been resilience. And like any top player, I don’t think they ever quite get comfortable enough to think that selection is just going to happen. What’s driven Cian on to be able to get to 100 caps is his fight to keep on improving.”

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Ireland team: Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Hugo Keenan, Jonathan Sexton (captain), Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Will Connors, Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Andrew Porter, Rob Herring, Cian Healy. Reserves: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Peter O’Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Chris Farrell.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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