Former Bulls loose forward CJ Stander has been named in Ireland’s starting lineup to face Wales in Dublin on Sunday.
Stander will pack down on the blindside flank with Tom O’Donnell at openside and Jamie Heaslip at No 8.
‘He’s been fitting in really well,' Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said of Stander. 'He’s a really committed character and has made sure to try and slot in as best he can. We felt [that starting him] would be a good mix for us particularly in the absence of Sean O’Brien.'
The Ireland starting XV bears little resemblance to the team that lost their World Cup quarter-final against Argentina. The surviving players include hooker and new captain Rory Best, lock Devin Toner, Heaslip, scrumhalf Connor Murray, inside centre Robbie Henshaw and outside centre Keith Earls, who will start on the wing against Wales.
Ireland – 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Nathan White, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath. Subs: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jerry Cronin, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Dave Kearney.