Tullow‘s Sean O’Brien has been named in the back row for Joe Schmidt’s firsrt Rugby World Cup team. Ireland open their campaign in Cardiff this weekend when they take on Canada on Saturday afternoon.
Robbie Henshaw misses out on a place in the pack with Luke Fitzgerald coming in to the fold.
Paul O’Connell meanwhile captains Ireland in his fourth Rugby World Cup.
It’s a hamstring injury that keeps Robbie Henshaw out of the side for Saturday’s clash with the Canadians in what will be the two country’s seventh meeting. Speaking at the Ireland team announcement press conference earlier today, head coach Joe Schmidt says that Henshaw is “ok to walk and jog around but he does feel that tightness when he’s accelerating and therefore it would be a real risk to push him ahead”
Schmidt however is “quietly confident” that Henshaw will be good by next Sunday.
Here’s the full team plus replacements for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opener.
Irish Rugby team to face Canada on 19 September
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
13. Jared Payne (Ulster)
12. Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
5. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster) (capt)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
7. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
18. Nathan White (Connacht)
19. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
20. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
21. Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
23. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Kick-off is 2.30pm at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and if you can’t get near a TV, we’ll have score updates right across the afternoon on Saturday Scoreline.