Six Nations: Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier start for Ireland in opener against Wales in Cardiff


Josh van der Flier
Josh van der Flier will start for Ireland in Cardiff
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday, 7 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC iPlayer & Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Sport website and app, S4C. Highlights, Scrum V, BBC Two Wales from 19:00 GMT on Sunday

Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier will both start in the pack for Ireland’s opening Six Nations match away to Wales on Sunday.

Beirne will partner James Ryan in the second row while Peter O’Mahony switches to blindside flanker, with Van der Flier coming into the back row.

James Lowe has been selected by Ireland head coach Andy Farrell on the wing ahead of Jordan Larmour.

Fit-again Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson are on the bench.

Ulster captain Henderson has been suffering from a knee problem while Leinster tighthead Furlong returned from almost a year out through injury by playing for Leinster last weekend.

Munster lock Beirne will win his 18th international cap and will play behind a front row of Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter, with CJ Stander at number eight completing the back row with Van der Flier and O’Mahony.

New Zealand-born wing Lowe made his first two Ireland appearances in last year’s Autumn Nations Cup but has not played since the defeat by England in that tournament after picking up a groin injury.

As expected, captain Johnny Sexton is fit enough after a knock to take his place at fly-half, with regular partner Conor Murray at scrum-half.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose link up again in the centre for the first time since the 2019 World Cup, with Hugo Keenan starting at full-back and Keith Earls on the opposite wing to Lowe.

Sunday’s match in Cardiff will be Farrell’s 10th game in charge of Ireland, having taken over from Joe Schmidt after the 2019 World Cup.

Ireland: Keenan, Earls, Ringrose; Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Herring, Porter, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Stander.

Replacements: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Furlong, Henderson, Connors, Gibson Park, Burns, Larmour.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Josh Navidi, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins.

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