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Farrell back with Munster

Chris Farrell, who made a favourable impression when coming in as a late replacement in the Irish centre against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday last, has been released back to Munster by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

Three other Munstermen in Irish camp, hooker Niall Scannell second-row Billy Holland and prop John Ryan, are also back with Munster, the likely message where all four are concerned being that they will not figure in Schmidt’s plans for Saturday week’s Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome.

That will come as disappointing news not alone for Farrell but also for Scannell and Ryan who were also in contention for a place in the match-day 23 in Rome.

Especially since Schmidt is expected to make a number of changes to his starting line-up with World Cup squad places very much on his mind.

On a more positive note, loose head prop Dave Kilcoyne and out-half Joey Carbery will be staying with Ireland with both very much in the running to start against the Italians.

Kilcoyne has been enjoying a hugely successful season with Munster and also with Ireland when introduced off the bench by Ireland against both England and Scotland.

Carbery hugely enhanced his reputation against the Scots, recovering with considerable style from an early blunder on his introduction as replacement for Johnny Sexton, as he laid on a try for fellow Munster player Keith Earls to clinch the game in Ireland’s favour.

While there have been reports that Munster second-row Tadhg Beirne might have recovered from injury to face the Italians, Johann van Graan wasn’t quite as optimistic and also confirmed that number eight CJ Stander will need further time to recover from a nasty facial injury.