Having served as Joe Schmidt’s defence coach since 2016, Farrell made the step-up to the top job following Ireland’s quarter-final elimination at the World Cup at the hands of New Zealand.
In an attempt to usher in a new era and put his own stamp on things, Farrell has handed Leinster’s Caelan Doris his debut at No8 for the Aviva Stadium opener.
There could also be a first cap off the bench for Ronan Kelleher, Doris’ provincial colleague, as he was selected as back up to starting hooker Rob Herring. However, while there are five changes to the starting XV that was defeated by the All Blacks in Schmidt’s last outing, Farrell has chosen 13 of the 15 players who started the World Cup pool win over Scotland in Yokohama, the retired Rory Best and the benched Peter O’Mahony the two alterations.
Farrell has chosen a starting back three of Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale – Larmour will start for veteran Rob Kearney, who was excluded from the squad chosen a fortnight ago, while Conway gets in ahead of Munster colleague Keith Earls.
(Continue reading below…)
The Six Nations team captains were out in force at the recent Six Nations launch in London
Garry Ringrose is paired with Bundee Aki at midfield. Aki makes his return to the XV after suspension ruled him out of the quarter-final where Ringrose lined up alongside the now benched Robbie Henshaw.
Despite the clamour for John Cooney’s inclusion at scrum-half, Farrell has decided to keep Conor Murray at half-back along with new skipper Johnny Sexton.
Four new captains ?
Four new coaches ?
Six Nations ?
…and lots of media ?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 22, 2020
The front row is made up of Cian Healy, Herring and Tadgh Furlong with Iain Henderson and James Ryan named at lock. Herring is the one change to the front five from Tokyo, stepping up for the now-retired Rory Best.
In the back row, newcomer Doris will pack down with CJ Stander and Josh van der Flier. Peter O’Mahony loses out from the World Cup starting XV and settles for a place on a bench that includes the return of Devin Toner, the headline omission by Schmidt when he chose his 31 for the finals in Japan.
IRELAND (vs Scotland)
15. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 18 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 28 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 23 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 88 caps Captain
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 78 caps
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 95 caps
2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 41 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 53 caps
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 38 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
8. Caelan Doris (UCD/Leinster)*
16. Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)*
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36 caps
18. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
19. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 67 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 64 caps
21. John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 8 caps
22. Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
23. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 40 caps
WATCH: Schalk Brits spoke to RugbyPass about his experiences bringing the William Webb Ellis trophy back to South Africa
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