Ireland team announced with confirmation that two huge players miss out

Jamie George says England are focusing on improving in different areas during their Six Nations campaign

The 22-year-old impressed against Italy in Round 2, and has fought off competition from Munster prop John Ryan, who was the go-to replacement option for Furlong over the last season-and-a-half.

Andrew Porter will on Thursday be confirmed as only the sixth player to ever wear the Ireland No3 jersey in the Six Nations championship.

Cian Healy is restored to the loosehead prop berth with Jack McGrath reverting to the bench.

That will see the inexperienced trio of Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Chris Farrell, with a combined 11 appearances between them, come into the side as Ireland look to continue their unbeaten start to the championship.

Furlong and Henderson are both nursing hamstring issues, leaving rookie Leinster duo Ryan and Porter tasked with shoring up the hosts' scrum.

"Tadhg is close as well".

"Ireland are a team who very rarely lose the ball and we're expecting to have to make over 200 tackles".

"So for a player who hasn't been there before, yep, it's a bit more pressure". Peter O'Mahony maintain his place while CJ Stander reverts to the starting XV in place of Jack Conan, who drops down to the bench.

Munster centre Farrell slots in for Robbie Henshaw, now sidelined for up to four months after a dislocated shoulder.

That will see Farrell renew a midfield partnership with Bundee Aki, a combination witnessed just the once, in the November series victory over Argentina.

Another change in the team is Devin Toner coming in for the injured Iain Hendrson and Ferris feels the loss of the Ulster man is "huge" given his athleticism and power, while he also described the game against Wales as the "biggest game of James Ryan's life" so far alongside Toner in the second row.

Gatland, who this week becomes only the second coach after New Zealand World Cup victor Graham Henry to clock up 100 Tests for one country, has made three changes from the side beaten by England, calling up fit-again full-back Leigh Halfpenny, wing Liam Williams and fly-half Dan Biggar.

Replacements: Cronin, McGrath, John Ryan, Roux, Conan, Marmion, Carbery, McFadden.

Follow Ireland v Wales on Saturday (KO 2.15pm) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1, with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan.

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