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Andy Farrell has brought experienced players back into the fold for Sunday's crucial Six Nations clash with Scotland, one he expects to be a tough challenge.

The Ireland head coach says the team changes are what is right for the game at Murrayfield.

"Competition for places is at a premium at the minute. Players are playing well and they deserve getting a bit more game time, coming up to speed as far as that is concerned.

"Players are really putting their hand up in training so it is a difficult one this week but it is the right one for this game against Scotland."

Rob Herring replaced Ronan Kelleher after an impressive display against Italy at hooker, Andy Farrell explained that decision.

"He is a massive leader for us in the pack," Farrell said of the Ulster man.

"He does huge unseen work. His line running and his numbers, as far a rucking is concerned, he is an important part of our pack.

"I think he is going to lead us from the start and then you are looking at what we have got from the bench. We have a strong bench, a dynamic bench that will pay towards the end of the game."

Andy Farrell expectations

The Ireland head coach is expecting a very tough game on Sunday.

"Much more of the same as what we always get, fierce competition. It is always a tough battle up there," Farrell said.

"We know they are confident coming into this game. They always seem confident, Scotland, before when they have played against us anyway. Certainly, they will be [even more so] this time around.

"Obviously they had a red card against Wales so they played well in that game and the one before that was a special performance by them in Twickenham.

"So we know they will be brimming and ready for us come Sunday," Farrell concluded.


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