Friday 22 March 2019

Tadhg Beirne handed first Six Nations start as Joe Schmidt recalls Sean O'Brien for Wales showdown

Sean OBrien has been named at openside flanker in the Ireland team to face Wales. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Sean OBrien has been named at openside flanker in the Ireland team to face Wales. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Tadhg Beirne will make his Six Nations debut for Ireland in their clash against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Schmidt's side are looking to deny Wales a Grand Slam, and still have an outside chance of claiming the title themselves if Scotland can win or draw against England.

Beirne has had to stay patient since joining Munster from the Scarlets as a knee injury hampered his early progress, but he is handed a big chance to impress at the expense of Iain Henderson, who misses out with a knee injury.

There are three changes in total from last weekend's win over France as Rob Kearney returns from a calf problem and Sean O'Brien earns a recall after Josh van der Flier was ruled out with a groin injury.

The wingers are unchanged as Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale make up the back-three along with Kearney, while Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki are again named in midfield.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will look to build on their return to form at half-back.

Up front, the familiar front-row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong are it situ, with Beirne partnering James Ryan in the engine room.

O'Brien will be looking for a big performance as Ireland aim to ruin Wales' Grand Slam dream with Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander completing the back-row.

There are several changes on the bench with Andrew Porter getting the nod ahead of John Ryan and Quinn Roux recalled instead of Ultan Dillane.

Kieran Marmion is back on the bench and in his line to make his first appearance of the tournament after recovering from an ankle injury.

As reported by the Irish Independent last month, Joey Carbery is still rehabbing a hamstring injury, which means that Jack Carty continues to provide out-half cover on the bench.

Ireland

15. Rob Kearney

14. Keith Earls

13. Garry Ringrose

12. Bundee Aki

11. Jacob Stockdale

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Conor Murray

1. Cian Healy

2. Rory Best

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Tadhg Beirne

5. James Ryan

6. Peter O'Mahony

7. Sean O'Brien

8. CJ Stander

Replacements

16. Niall Scannell

17. Dave Kilcoyne

18. Andrew Porter

19. Quinn Roux

20. Jack Conan

21. Kieran Marmion

22. Jack Carty

23. Jordan Larmour

Online Editors

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