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James Ryan one of three players handed Six Nations debut as Joe Schmidt picks strong team to face France

James Ryan, Bundee Aki and Jacob Stockdale all start for Ireland
James Ryan, Bundee Aki and Jacob Stockdale all start for Ireland
30 January 2018; James Ryan during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Des Berry

James Ryan, Bundee Aki and Jacob Stockdale will make their Six Nations debuts for Ireland against France at Stade de France on Saturday.

This means Devin Toner and the rejuvenated Fergus McFadden, covering the three-quarters, settle for places on the bench.  

Cian Healy has held off the claims of Jack McGrath at loose-head and Josh van der Flier has done likewise against Dan Leavy on the openside.

Luke McGrath has made the significant move of beating out Kieran Marmion as back-up scrum-half to Conor Murray.

More to follow.....

Ireland: R Kearney; K Earls, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong, I Henderson, James Ryan, P O’Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, John Ryan, D Toner, D Leavy; L McGrath, J Carbery, F McFadden.

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