Andy Farrell has made six changes to his starting Ireland XV to face Italy on Saturday eight months after the 24-12 Six Nations loss to England at Twickenham in their last outing. Leinster winger Hugo Keenan and openside Will Connors come in for their Test level debuts, while Garry Ringrose, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne and Caelan Doris are all recalled.
Jordan Larmour, who is ruled out until next February with a dislocated shoulder, sees his place at full-back taken by Jacob Stockdale, whose repositioning from the left wing opened up the slot for Keenan. In the Ireland midfield, Ringrose will step up for Six Nations duty to combine with Bundee Aki, with Robbie Henshaw dropping to the bench.
Four of the six changes are in the pack. With Tadhg Furlong injured, Andrew Porter is promoted from the Twickenham bench while fit-again Tadhg Beirne comes in for Devin Toner, who was left out of the autumn squad named two weeks ago.
In the back row, Doris returns for his second start at the expense of the benched Peter O’Mahony. Doris’ debut lasted just four minutes against Scotland before he was concussed. Also in the back row, Connors comes in for club colleague Josh van der Flier.
Ireland’s bench includes David Heffernan, the uncapped Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham and Jamison Gibson-Park, another Test newcomer. Johnny Sexton will skipper the team after proving his fitness in training.
It's that usual Irish Six Nations tradition, an update on a Sexton injury before the action gets going ?? https://t.co/566HrbYwj2
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 20, 2020
IRELAND (vs Italy, Saturday)
15. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 28 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 21 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 29 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 26 caps
11. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) uncapped
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 91 caps CAPTAIN
9. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 81 caps
1. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 98 caps
2. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 11 caps
3. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 26 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 26 caps
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/UCD) 2 caps
7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) uncapped
8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 41 caps
16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 1 cap
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) uncapped
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Corinthians) 9 caps
19. Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 15 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 67 caps
21. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) uncapped
22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 6 caps
23. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 43 caps
Quality insight from @SimonZebo on RugbyPass Offload this week to chat through his Heineken Champions Cup Final.
+ Six Nations Preview, Bledisloe and @DylanHartley on how Eddie Jones picked his squad ?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 21, 2020
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