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31st Jan 2019

Ireland make two huge calls in exciting team to face England

Patrick McCarry

Six Nations

The Grand Slam champions have gone with a strong first XV

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made a couple of big calls in his team to face England in Saturday’s 2019 Guinness Six Nations opener.

The front row features the familiar trio of Cian Healy, captain Rory Best ad Tadhg Furlong while half backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are reunited for the first time since the Australia tour.

The Leinster duo of James Ryan and Devin Toner are paired up in the second row while the back row contains the Munster duo of Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander, packing down with Leinster’s Josh van der Flier at openside.

In the backline, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose are in midfield and Robbie Henshaw starts at fullback, with Rob Kearney missing out. Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale are also included.


1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (C)
3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan

6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. CJ Stander

9. Conor Murray
10. Johnny Sexton

11. Jacob Stockdale
12. Bundee Aki
13. Garry Ringrose
14. Keith Earls

15. Robbie Henshaw

The bench contains Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux and Sean O’Brien as replacement forwards, with John Cooney, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour covering the backline.

Eddie Jones named his side for the Dublin clash two hours before the Irish announcement, with Manu Tuilagi at inside centre and Elliot Daly in the 15 jersey, with Tom Curry and Mark Wilson joining Billy Vunipola in the back row.


1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje
5. George Kruis

6. Mark Wilson
7. Vunipola
8. Tom Curry

9. Ben Youngs
10. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Jack Nowell
12. Manu Tuilagi
13. Henry Slade
14. Jonny May

15. Elliot Daly

Ireland take on England at the Aviva Stadium from 4.45pm on Saturday, February 2 with live coverage on Virgin Media One.