*Updated at 14:30
JONATHAN SEXTON HAS been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations finale against Italy after tearing a tendon
The outhalf had been named at 10 in the starting XV at 12:30 today but a scan following a training ground injury has forced an alteration to the line-up.
An IRFU statement reads, “Sexton, who had recovered from the hamstring injury that had kept him out and was named in the starting line-up earlier today, went over on his foot in training.
“A scan has confirmed that he has torn a tendon in his left foot and is therefore ruled out this weekend.”
Paddy Jackson will, once again, form the half-back pairing with Munster’s Conor Murray. Donnacha Ryan is fit enough to pack down alongside Mike McCarthy in the second row. There is no place in the squad for lock Donncha O’Callaghan.
In better news, Brian O’Driscoll been declared fit to start for Ireland in Rome on Saturday.
Craig Gilroy has also returned to the team, having last featured against England. Luke Marshall starts at inside centre alongside O’Driscoll.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney said, “[O'Driscoll] is as 100% fit as every other rugby player in the world.”
Jamie Heaslip will captain the side once again and partners Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony in the back row.
Heaslip believes ‘there is a lot more to come’ from the Irish team and feels they could have challenged for the championship if one or two scores had went his team’s way.
The front row also remains unchanged from the France game, with Cian Healy and Mike Ross packing down on either side of hooker Rory Best.
Ireland take on Italy from 2:30pm at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
A win could elevate Kidney’s side to third place while a defeat, and a French win over Scotland, would mean Ireland finishing at the foot of the table.
Ireland: Kearney; Gilroy, O’Driscoll, L Marshall, Earls; Jackson, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross; McCarthy, Ryan; O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip (c).
Replacements: Kilcoyne, Cronin, Archer, Toner, Henderson, P Marshall, Madigan, Fitzgerald.
TheScore.ie will be covering Ireland v Italy from 1:30pm on Saturday.