Ireland Rugby coach Joe Schmidt has named the match day 23 for the opening game of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship against France at the Stade de France.
Leinster’s 21-year old lock forward James Ryan earns a first 6 nations start as do Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki the Connacht centre.
Rory Best captains the side and is joined in the front row by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong. Iain Henderson and James Ryan line-out in the second row with Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander filling the backrow positions.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton form the half-back pairing with Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw in midfield. The back three consists of Rob Kearney at fullback with Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale on the wings.
The replacements include Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery and Fergus McFadden.
IRELAND Squad to play France:
Stade de France, Saturday 3rd February, 2018.
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 (Belfast Harlequins/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
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
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