Furlong pulls up as preparations enter the home straight

Tadhg Furlong has been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations Championship opener against Wales on Saturday at the 11th hour due to an ongoing calf muscle injury. The Wexford colossus hasn’t played since December, but was considered to be on track for a return before this latest setback.

Connacht’s Finlay Bealham will replace his Leinster counterpart in the front row, while Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey forms the centre partnership with Garry Ringrose and Jamison Gibson-Park continues his half back combination with Johnny Sexton.

Finlay Bealham will start in the front row

IRELAND: Hugo Kennan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Finlay Bealham; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelin Dorris.

REPLACEMENTS: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Bundee Aki

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