John Cooney has been called up to the Ireland squad for the decisive Six Nations clash with France on Saturday as cover for Jamison Gibson-Park.

Gibson-Park reported he is suffering from hamstring tightness after the 50-17 demolition of Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Cooney was left out for that match in Dublin after being on the bench for the defeat to England in February before the tournament was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ulster scrum-half has been drafted in by Andy Farrell ahead of a showdown with Les Bleus in Paris which Ireland start knowing a bonus-point win would secure the title.

Wing Keith Earls is finishing his rehabilitation programme from a back injury and a decision over whether he can face France will be made in the coming days.

Centre Garry Ringrose is out for up to six weeks after suffering a broken jaw in the hammering of the Azzurri.

England trail Ireland by a point but are favourites to be crowned champions as they face Italy in Rome.

Ireland will be without Garry Ringrose for their decisive Six Nations showdown with France after the centre was ruled out for up to six weeks with a broken jaw. 

Ringrose was caught in the face by Edoardo Padovani's knee early in the 50-17 hammering of Italy when the Six Nations resumed at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. 

The Leinster player, who was replaced by Robbie Henshaw, will miss the trip to Paris for a final match of the tournament that Ireland will start needing another bonus-point win to secure the title. 

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: "Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw, so bad news for us all. 

"He's been so good for us the last 10 days, he has been absolutely fantastic with his leadership and he was a big part of the reason why we got what we wanted [versus Italy]. 

"He was unfortunate with his thumb injury earlier in the Six Nations and has come back and had a setback like that which will keep him out for four to six weeks, so we're gutted for Garry."

Ringrose also looks set to sit out the Autumn Nations Cup encounters with Wales, England and Georgia in November. 

Ireland are a point ahead of France and England - who play Italy in Rome - ahead of the final round of Six Nations matches.

Hugo Keenan scored a debut double as Ireland coasted to a 50-17 bonus-point thrashing of Italy to go top of the Six Nations table on Saturday. 

Eight months after the clash in Dublin was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Andy Farrell's side secured the maximum points they needed to keep their destiny in their own hands in the battle for the title. 

CJ Stander scored the opening try when Conor Murray was in the sin bin after debutant Paolo Garbisi's penalty gave Italy an early lead behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium. 

Wing Keenan crossed twice in the first half and had a try disallowed prior to Will Connors touching down a debut score of his own to secure the bonus point, after Edoardo Padovani finished at the other end. 

Johnny Sexton added a fifth try and booted 15 points, with Bundee Aki and Dave Heffernan also scoring before Garbisi went under the posts right at the end. 

Ireland ensured they will face France - who, along with England, they are a point clear of - in Paris next Saturday on the final weekend knowing a bonus-point win will seal the title. 

Murray was yellow carded inside three minutes for conceding a penalty just in front of his own line after Ireland were caught out by an incisive Italy break, Garbisi opening the scoring from the tee. 

Ireland took charge despite being a man down, Stander crashing over from close range before Sexton was on target with a penalty and Keenan finished superbly after Robbie Henshaw - on for the injured Garry Ringrose - picked him out with a whipped pass. 

Keenan had a try chalked off when James Ryan was penalised for obstruction, but he got on the end of scrum-half Murray's kick to round off a swift break prior to the interval and Sexton converted expertly for a third time. 

Italy did not do themselves any favours as they gave away too many penalties, but Padovani plucked a stray pass from Sexton to race away and score 15 minutes into the second half. 

Ireland had the bonus point in the bag soon after, though, Connors dotting down from the back of a driving maul after 61 minutes, then Sexton and Aki added further tries with Italy all at sea. 

Heffernan scored Ireland's seventh from a set-piece and Garbisi marked his debut by scampering away for a try with time almost up in a one-sided contest. 

The Six Nations finally resumes on Saturday with a clash between Ireland and Italy behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium.

Andy Farrell's side and the Azzurri were due to do battle in Dublin late in February, but the round four game was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ireland were beaten 24-12 by England at Twickenham last time out, but remain in contention for the title, with a trip to face France to come in their final match of the tournament next weekend.

Farrell's men will lift the trophy if they secured bonus-point victories in both matches.

Italy, who will have 20-year-old fly-half Paolo Garbisi in the starting line-up have not won a Six Nations game since beating Scotland in 2015.

We use Opta facts to preview the only round four match that could not be played before the tournament was halted due to the COVID-19 crisis.

- Italy have lost two games in this year's tournament without scoring a point, the first time any side has suffered this fate in the history of the Six Nations.

- Ireland have averaged just 7.7 turnovers conceded per game due to a handling error in the 2020 Six Nations, fewer than any other side. Italy, meanwhile, are the only side to average over 15 total turnovers conceded per game in this championship (15.7).

- Italy have lost each of their last 25 games in the competition, the longest losing run by any side in Five-Six Nations history; only on two occasions in that spell have Italy lost by a single- figure margin (v France 2016, v Scotland 2018).

- Since the start of the 2014 Six Nations, Ireland have lost just one of 17 home games in the championship (against England last year)

- Ireland have won 19 of their 20 Six Nations matches against Italy, a 22-15 shock in 2013 at the Stadio Olimpico the only loss.

- Italy have just two wins across their 52 away games in the Six Nations, both of those victories coming at Murrayfield against Scotland (2007 and 2015).

 

West Indies captain Jason Holder has expressed disappointment for the overall lack of continued support for the Black Lives Matter movement during ongoing cricket tours.

Initially, England and West Indies adopted the anti-racism stance ahead of their three-Test matches in July as part of the worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. 

Sports like the NBA and English Premier League (IPL) have, however, continued the gesture of taking a knee.  In cricket, England and Ireland also took the knee in their ODI series, after the West Indies, but that position was shelved when the home side welcomed Pakistan and Australia later in the year.

"I personally was a bit disappointed to see how the Pakistan and Australia tours went on after ours. That they were not showing their solidarity afterwards,” Holder said, after he and his team were given the Cricket Writers' Club's Peter Smith Award for becoming the first international team to tour amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's a hard challenge and a long hard road. It's not an overnight fix but the most important thing is we come together and see each other as equal human beings,” he added.

Legendary West Indies bowler turned commentator Michael Holding was critical of the lack of action.

Ireland full-back Jordan Larmour will miss the conclusion of the Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup after suffering a dislocated shoulder.

Larmour will undergo surgery this week, having sustained the injury in Leinster's Pro14 win at Benetton Rugby on Saturday.

The versatile 23-year-old will not be available to Andy Farrell for the Six Nations encounter with Italy at the Aviva Stadium on October 24 nor the final match of the tournament against France at Stade de France seven days later.

Larmour has also been ruled out of the internationals against Wales, England and Georgia next month.

Leinster on Monday stated that no timeframe had been put on a potential return for the influential Larmour.

Ryan Baird will be assessed this week after the lock suffered an adductor strain in the victory at the weekend.

Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been appointed as World Rugby's director of rugby and high performance.

The New Zealander is to head up a new department at the governing body responsible for the high performance, match officials and technical services functions, including player welfare along with training and education. 

Schmidt ended a successful six-year tenure with Ireland after the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year and will start his new role next month.

The 2018 World Rugby Coach of the Year said: "I'm really looking forward to getting started. I'm passionate about the game and keen that people continue to enjoy being involved in it, from the young to the young at heart.

"The professional game is the showpiece for our sport and involving key stakeholders in our discussions about how the game is played and how players are managed will be beneficial.

"It has been a challenging year thus far and likely to remain difficult for some time, but it has been great to see the resumption of numerous competitions, with plenty of entertaining and exciting matches."

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said: "We are delighted to appoint a person of Joe's calibre, expertise and global credibility to this newly created and strategically important position within the organisation."

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has urged his team to come out firing for their crucial final two matches in the Six Nations.

After a seven-month delay, Ireland will get to finish their campaign when they face Italy in Dublin on October 24 and France in Paris seven days later.

Should they win both matches and take a bonus point each time, Ireland will be assured of the championship, having won two of their three matches to date.

Ireland had been due to face Italy in early March and France later in the month, but the emerging COVID-19 threat saw those fixtures postponed.

Farrell, who named a 35-man squad on Thursday, must cope without prop Tadhg Furlong, who started Ireland's opening three matches in the championship, after he suffered a calf injury on duty with Leinster.

John Cooney has also missed out, with the Ulster scrum-half paying the price for a dip in form with Ulster, while Farrell has summoned six uncapped players, including New Zealand-born half-back Jamison Gibson-Park.

Farrell named his latest squad on the day his predecessor in the Ireland top job, Joe Schmidt, was named as World Rugby's new director of rugby and high performance.

With half an eye on the Autumn Nations Cup, Farrell said: "We have two competitions to play in over the coming months but will focus first on a strong finish to the Six Nations Championships.

"The return to rugby has not been without its challenges as some players have suffered injury setbacks and there has been limited playing opportunities ahead of a busy and exciting international window.

"We will be closely monitoring the form and fitness of players competing in the Guinness Pro14 over the coming weeks."

Farrell praised the "huge effort" that has gone into allowing professional rugby to resume in Ireland, saying it was "greatly appreciated by the national management".

He added: "We have protocols in place to safeguard the welfare of the players and staff and are looking forward to completing the Six Nations Championships."

Ireland squad:

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Jack Carty (Connacht), Andrew Conway (Munster), Shane Daly (Munster), Chris Farrell (Munster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), Jordan Larmour (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Johnny Sexton (Leinster, captain), Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

Forwards: Ryan Baird (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Ed Byrne (Leinster), Will Connors (Leinster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Dave Heffernan (Connacht), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), Quinn Roux (Connacht), James Ryan (Leinster), John Ryan (Munster), CJ Stander (Munster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

Six Nations has confirmed the tournament will be completed in October and guidance on potential spectator attendance will follow "in due course".

The World Rugby Council last week approved for Ireland to face Italy on October 24, with the final round of matches taking place a week later.

Ireland will stage bottom side Italy at the Aviva Stadium in a showdown that should have taken place on March 7, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wales will take on Scotland on October 31 at a venue that has not yet been confirmed, with England travelling to face Italy at Stadio Olimpico and France doing battle with Ireland at Stade de France on the same day. 

England were above France on points difference when the vast majority of sport worldwide was halted in March and it remains to be seen whether fans will be allowed in to see the conclusion of the competition.

A Six Nations statement released on Wednesday said: "In rescheduling these matches, the health and safety of players, associated staff and supporters has been at the forefront of our thinking.

"We remain in close contact with all relevant authorities across the respective jurisdictions to ensure these matches take place in a safe environment and we will announce further details of health and safety protocols and guidance on spectator attendance in due course."

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said: "Public health remains the number one priority and while we must continue to be vigilant and cognisant of the dynamic and fast changing external environment, we are nonetheless extremely pleased to be moving in the right direction."

Ireland matched their famous 2011 Cricket World Cup victory over England as they scored 329 again to take the final match of the one-day series in Southampton. 

Kevin O'Brien - the hero of the historic three-wicket triumph in Bangalore nine years ago - hit the winning run, seeing Ireland home in the final over to end the long wait for a second win over their neighbours.

However, it was opener Paul Stirling and captain Andy Balbirnie who were the architects of this outstanding result, both right-handers making centuries to set up the innings.

England captain Eoin Morgan had earlier hit 106 but suffered a groin injury while batting, forcing him to watch on from a seat inside the empty Ageas Bowl as his side's score of 328 all out was overhauled with seven wickets in hand.

Stirling smashed 142 from 128 deliveries while Balbirnie hit 113, the pair adding 214 runs for the second wicket before a mix-up saw the former, previously dropped twice by James Vince, run out.

The skipper also perished as the finishing line drew closer, lofting Adil Rashid to Sam Billings in the deep, but Harry Tector and O'Brien saw the job through, finishing unbeaten on 29 and 21 respectively.

As well as avoiding being swept in the three-match series, Ireland also claim their first points in the new ICC Cricket World Cup Super League by beating the reigning champions in the format.

England looked set to post an even more challenging target having been put into bat, yet twice undermined their progress by losing wickets in clusters during a sloppy performance.

Jason Roy fell in the first over of the contest, steering Craig Young to second slip, while opening partner Jonny Bairstow departed for four soon after, bowled by Mark Adair. 

Vince (16) also departed inside the opening powerplay to leave the score at 44-3, yet Morgan still opted to go on the attack against the team he used to play for. 

Tom Banton (58) recorded his maiden ODI half-century but played second fiddle to his skipper in a fourth-wicket alliance worth 146, though Morgan's departure led to another mini-collapse. 

From 190-4, England slipped to 216-7. As well as both well-set batsmen, Moeen Ali (one) and the in-form Sam Billings, who picked out mid-on having eased to 19, were also dismissed during a passage of play that proved crucial in the end.

David Willey followed up his unbeaten 47 on Saturday with a career-best ODI score of 51, while Tom Curran finished up 38 not out, but the hosts offered Ireland an opportunity they gratefully seized.

England seamer Reece Topley has been ruled out of Tuesday's final ODI with Ireland because of a left groin strain.

Topley, who had seen a promising international career derailed by a series of stress fractures in his back, took his first ODI wicket for over four years in England's win on Saturday.

That four-wicket success clinched the three-match series for the hosts, but Topley will not be available as England look to complete a 3-0 triumph at the Rose Bowl.

Topley, whose last ODI appearance prior to last weekend's victory came in South Africa in February 2016, enjoyed an impressive return and finished with figures of 1-31.

He will hope to recover in time to produce similar performances in this month's T20 series with Pakistan, which begins on August 28.

Jonny Bairstow equalled England's fastest ODI fifty and helped the hosts to a second consecutive ODI victory over Ireland to settle the series.

England followed up their emphatic Rose Bowl victory on Thursday with a less assured four-wicket win at the same venue on Saturday as they chased down 213. 

The third and final match takes place next week with England now 2-0 up.

Curtis Campher (68) impressed again as he anchored Ireland's innings, with Adil Rashid taking 3-34.

In reply, Bairstow reached his half-century off just 21 balls, equalling captain Eoin Morgan's record, before eventually falling for 82 from 41 deliveries in a knock that contained 14 fours and two sixes.

Following his dismissal, England promptly lost Morgan and Moeen Ali for ducks, leaving them suddenly struggling at 137-6.

But the two stars of the first match, Sam Billings (46 not out) and David Willey (47no), again came to the fore and got the world champions over the line with 17.3 overs to spare.

Joe Denly will miss the rest of England's ODI series with Ireland due to back problems.

The batsman has been struggling with back spasms and was not involved in the first match on Thursday, when England claimed a six-wicket victory.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that Liam Livingstone would take Denly's place in the 14-man squad.

"Joe Denly has been ruled out the Royal London Series against Ireland after suffering back spasms in training on Wednesday," the ECB statement said.

"The Kent batsman has been replaced in the 14-man England ODI squad by Lancashire's Liam Livingstone.

"Livingstone has represented England in two IT20s and would make his ODI debut if selected in one of the final two matches with Ireland."

The second ODI takes place at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, with the third set for next Tuesday.

David Willey's bowling set the tone for a comprehensive six-wicket England win in Thursday's ODI with Ireland, while Sam Billings impressed at the crease as a 173 target was reached with little fuss in the series opener.

England's Test players were unavailable due to their endeavours against West Indies, meaning an entirely different ODI XI was given the chance to prove their credentials, and Willey certainly rose to the occasion.

The 29-year-old was left out of England's World Cup squad last year, but in Southampton he provided a reminder of his qualities with an exceptional 5-30, his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

It did not take Willey long to find his groove, taking out Paul Stirling (2) and Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie (3) in the first three overs.

Three successive fours – which were soon followed by another pair – from Gareth Delany (22) at least gave Ireland a little momentum, but he too fell victim to Willey having just seen Mahmood (2-36) deal with Harry Tector (0), and Lorcan Tucker (0) followed them just two balls later in the sixth.

Curtis Campher (59 not out) and Kevin O'Brien (22) steadied the ship with some conservative batting, staving off the England attack for 14 full overs, but the latter eventually paid the price for opting to alter their mentality.

Like Tector and Tucker, Simi Singh returned to the pavilion without a run to his name, and although Andy McBrine's solid 40 helped he and Campher put up a decent defence, Ireland were eventually skittled in the 45th over when Jason Roy caught Craig Young to secure Willey's fifth wicket.

England's chase did not begin particularly emphatically, as they found themselves at 36-2 after the sixth over – Roy (24) and Jonny Bairstow (2) the early casualties.

Tucker then caught Vince (25) off Young in the 10th over, but England's wobble effectively ended with his replacement, Billings, who impressed with an unbeaten 67, which included 11 fours.

England lost Tom Banton (11), but captain Eoin Morgan (36 not out) came in and ultimately sealed a comfortable victory as he blasted Singh's delivery for six – the hosts reaching 174 runs in the 28th over with six wickets to spare.

Eoin Morgan does not believe England's Cricket World Cup triumph will prove to be a hindrance as his side prepare to begin their home white-ball season.

England face Ireland in a three-match ODI series, starting on Thursday, at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, England's first home one-day series since Morgan led the team to World Cup glory in July 2019 will be played behind closed doors.

And though Morgan understands there will be new challenges posed by having no fans in attendance, he does not believe England's World Cup success will be a weight on the side's shoulders.

"I would rather be in that position than not winning and having to fight to find a winning formula," Morgan told a news conference.

"I think winning last year has given our guys a huge confidence in the process and the planning with which we went through a long period.

"It allows us to go into every World Cup with that strategy and forward thinking and trying to continually get better.

"Seeing the finished product last year was an eye opener for everybody. It also creates a level of expectation wherever we go, and while it sits well with some of our guys a lot of them haven't experienced that. We want to win more trophies."

Morgan also added that he sees the current pool of players available for selection as the strongest in his time as captain.

"I think the selection was particularly difficult. Over the last four and a bit years we've always had tough decisions to make," he said.

"Everyone who has been left out was a tough call. The standard has been exceptional, way above the standard I expected given the time we had off.

"We're blessed at the moment with a high-calibre group of top-order batters, not only in the team but also sitting in the wings. 

"There's such a big pool of players that are all so talented. We don't know if they'll succeed in international cricket but you would be comfortable selecting them in a squad if you needed them."

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