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Mack Hansen starts for Ireland as Tadhg Beirne switches position

By PA
(Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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In-form wing Mack Hansen will make his Ireland debut in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener against defending champions Wales in Dublin.

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The Australia-born 23-year-old, whose mother is Irish, has been selected on the left flank in place of the injured James Lowe following a string of standout displays for Connacht.

Tadhg Beirne will start in the second row ahead of Iain Henderson in the only other change to the team which began November’s 29-20 win over New Zealand.

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Ulster captain Henderson has not played since suffering an ankle issue playing for his province on December 17 and does not make Andy Farrell’s 23-man selection.

Centre Robbie Henshaw has also been left out of the matchday squad, with fellow British and Irish Lion Bundee Aki given the nodded to partner Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Ulster centre James Hume has been included on the bench ahead of Henshaw. He and fellow replacement Dan Sheehan could make championship debuts.

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IRELAND TEAM VERSUS WALES:
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 16 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 27 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 33 caps
11. Mack Hansen (Connacht) uncapped
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 101 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 12 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 40 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 52 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 25 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 40 caps
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 12 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 35 caps
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 22 caps

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 2 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 112 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 18 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 6 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 79 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 92 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 27 caps
23. James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap

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