Ireland Team Named For Six Nations Opener With France

Here we go.

Joe Schmidt has named his Ireland team to take on France this weekend for their Six Nations opener in Paris.

Cian Healy gets the nod at loosehead ahead of Leinster teammate Jack McGrath who starts on the bench. The other big call sees James Ryan start in the second-row alongside Ulster’s Iain Henderson.

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Josh van der Flier has been handed the tough task of filling Sean O’Brien’s boots, but can take confidence in the fact that he’ll be joined by two Lions in the back-row, with Peter O’Mahony at six and CJ Stander at eight.

The backline is as expected with Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale on the wings, Aki and Henshaw in the centre and Murray and Sexton at halfback. Rob Kearney gets the nod at fifteen, with Fergus McFadden on the bench.

Ireland team vs France.

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 78 caps
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62 caps
13. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 31 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 2 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 4 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 68 caps
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 59 caps

1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 73 caps
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 106 caps (captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 19 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 34 caps
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 42 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps
8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 18 caps

Replacements:
16. Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 56 caps
17. Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 42 caps
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 11 caps
19. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 53 caps
20. Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
21. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 6 caps
23. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 32 caps