2018 Six Nations: Farrell leading race to replace injured Henshaw says Schmidt

Chris Farrell in action for Ireland against Argentina in November
Chris Farrell played started in two of Ireland's games in November

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt says Chris Farrell is leading the race to replace injured centre Robbie Henshaw in the Six Nations game against Wales.

Garry Ringrose's fitness is still in doubt after he missed the wins over France and Italy while Farrell and Rory Scannell are among other candidates.

"Probably Chris Farrell has his nose in front at the moment," Schmidt told RTE.

"Chris teamed up [with Bundee Aki] against Argentina and he did a really good job."

Schmidt revealed that Farrell's uncapped Munster team-mate Sam Arnold could be another option to replace Henshaw, who will be out of action for up to four months after injuring a shoulder against Italy.

"We have got a lot of respect for Chris and what he brings to the party.

"We had Sam Arnold with us last week and his explosive ability to accelerate and play the game has been impressive. We will be looking at those options."

Speaking on Thursday, Schmidt added that Farrell "trained well today".

Henshaw has already had surgery on his shoulder injury
Henshaw has already had surgery on his shoulder injury

"He did well against Argentina [in November] and he is a guy we've got a fair bit of confidence in."

Schmidt also expressed confidence that British and Lions players Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson would be fit for the 24 February game against the Welsh after they came off against Italy.

"He's gone really well," said Schmidt of prop Furlong.

"Iain Henderson is probably a little bit ahead of him. Iain felt he could have played the second half [against Italy] but we took him off as a precaution."

Schmidt added that lock James Ryan was also "back in the mix" after missing the Italy game because of a groin niggle.

Ryan impressed on his Six Nations debut against the French.

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