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Ireland make 11 changes to their team to face Wales

Joe Schmidt has made 11 changes to his starting line-up for Ireland’s trip to Wales on Saturday, the Irish coach opting to change things up hugely following last weekend’s humiliating 57-15 defeat to England in London. 

The New Zealander is hoping a smattering of his more experienced players from last week can carry a mixed-strength XV over the line against the Welsh, who beat them comfortably in the Six Nations Grand Slam game last March.  

Ireland’s four survivors from the XV that started at Twickenham are Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki.

O’Mahony’s repeat selection comes with a twist, though, as he will bed down at openside and will also skipper the side. His provincial team-mate, Munster’s Tadhg Beirne, is presented with the chance to fit in at blindside in a back row completed by Leinster’s Jack Conan. 

The second row features Henderson with James Ryan along with an all-Munster front row consisting of Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and James Ryan. Regular skipper Rory Best is named on the bench.

Continuing the theme of using provincial combinations at Test level, Kieran Marmion has been chosen at half-back alongside his Connacht colleague Jack Carty, who is starting a Test for the first time. 

Aki is paired up in the middle with Chris Farrell, as Robbie Henshaw’s return has been delayed by another week, while Stockdale is joined in the back three by Andrew Conway and Will Addison.  

Meanwhile, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose, other starters from the England defeat, will join Best on the bench.

IRELAND (v Wales)

15. Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 3 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 14 caps
13. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 6 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 18 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 20 caps
10. Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 5 caps
9. Kieran Marmion (Galwegians/Connacht) 26 caps

1. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 29 caps
2. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 15 caps
3. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 19 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 46 caps
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 17 caps
6. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 7 caps
7. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 58 caps
8. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 14 caps

REPLACEMENTS
16. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 118 caps
17. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 16 caps
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 34 caps
19. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 66 caps
20. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Ulster) 28 caps
21. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 12 caps
22. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 22 caps
23. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 18 caps

WATCH: Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll tips England to win the World Cup

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Ireland make 11 changes to their team to face Wales