Back-row forward CJ Stander – who has played every minute of Munster Rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign this season – will return to the Ireland XV on Sunday for their Six Nations clash with France in Dublin. 

The 28-year-old, who scored tries against Exeter Chiefs and Castres Olympique in Rounds 1 and 3, has been selected at No.8 by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt after missing the victories over Scotland and Italy last month due to a facial injury. 

The news will be a major boost to Munster fans, with Stander sitting second in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup standings for tackles (94) and carries (88). 

The Irish province topped Pool 2 and travel to face Edinburgh Rugby in their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final on March 30 at BT Murrayfieldwhich is being televised live on Channel 4, Virgin Media, BT Sport and beIN SPORTS. 

Stander is one of seven Irish changes made after the victory against Italy, with Schmidt opting to replace flanker Sean O’Brien with Leinster Rugby team-mate Josh van der Flier, while prop Cian Healy, lock James Ryan and prop Tadhg Furlong have also been restored. 

Ulster Rugby lock Iain Henderson returns as well after injury, having won Heineken Man of the Match honours in his province’s crucial 14-13 victory over Leicester Tigers in Round 6. 

He will be hoping for a similar display when Ulster travel to face defending champions Leinster in their quarter-final on March 30 in Dublin, live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS. 

The sole change in the backs ia recall for Leinster centre Garry Ringrose.