Joe Schmidt has announced the line-up for Ireland’s first RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales this Sunday
Rory Best wins his 90th cap as he assumes the captain’s role and is joined in the front row by Jack McGrath and Nathan White.
The second row sees Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy paired together while the backrow consists of the uncapped CJ Stander on the blindside, Tommy O’Donnell at openside and Jamie Heaslip at No.8.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are partnered at halfback while Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are reunited in midfield.
Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls fill the wing positions with Simon Zebo lining out at fullback.
The replacements are Sean Cronin, James Cronin, Tadgh Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Kieran Marmion, Ian Madigan and Dave Kearney.
Ireland Team & Replacements (v Wales, RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Sunday 7th February)
15. Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster) 21
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 58
13. Jared Payne (Ulster) 10
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 15
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 46
10. Jonathan Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 56
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 42
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 25
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 89 Captain
3. Nathan White (Connacht) 8
4. Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 17
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 31
6. CJ Stander (Munster)*
7. Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 9
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 80 Vice-Captain
16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 48
17. James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster) 2
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 3
19. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 34
20. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 6
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 4
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 25
23. David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 14
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The game kicks off at 3pm and will be screened on BBC and ITV.
France clash with Italy at 2.25 on Saturday and England take on Scotland from4.50pm.
Irish Referees in the RBS 6 Nations
Tomorrow (6.2.16) is a busy day for the IRFU referees, with John Lacey in charge of the second Six Nations game of 2016 – the Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England at Murrayfield. Fellow Irish referee George Clancy will take one of the assistant referee positions.
Ever wanted to know more about being a referee? Chekc out the Ref’s rec here: www.irishrugby.ie/referees