Andy Farrell names Irish team for Six Nations opener

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Andy Farrell Names Irish Team For Six Nations Opener
Johnny Sexton will once again captain Ireland for the Six Nations. © PA Archive/PA Images
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Johnny Sexton will captain Ireland for a third season and starts at fly-half in this weekend's Six Nations opening round.

Facing the challenge of Wales at home, Sexton will have the familiarity of Conor Murray at scrum-half, while Leinster duo Robbie Henshaw and Gary Ringrose slot in at inside and outside centre respectively.

After bursting onto the scene in last year's delayed championship, Hugo Keenan has cemented his place in the squad, starting at fullback.

On the wing is James Lowe, making his Six Nations debut, while Keith Earls his 89th cap for Ireland.

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Cian Healy makes his 50th Six Nations appearance joined by Rob Herring and Andrew Porter in the front row.

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Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan claim the two lock positions, while Munster's Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander are joined my Josh van der Flier in the backrow, replacing the injured Caelan Doris.

On the bench, Andy Farrell has reliables like Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Jordan Larmour at his disposal, with Rónan Kelleher, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park and Billy Burns will also be waiting in the wings.

Sunday's match at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff gets underway at 3pm and will be televised on Virgin Media.

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