Australian-born wing Mack Hansen will make his Test debut for Ireland in their Six Nations opener against champions Wales on Saturday.
The 23-year-old former Brumbies flyer qualifies through his Irish mother and has earned his rapid international recognition on the back of sparkling displays for his province Connacht this season.
Hansen’s case for inclusion has also been helped by injuries to Jacob Stockdale and James Lowe.
Unsurprisingly, with the Ireland going into the game on an eight-Test winning run, the rest of the starting lineup is largely that which dazzled in the November Tests, including a win over New Zealand.
Head coach Andy Farrell has opted for the in-form Tadhg Beirne to partner James Ryan in the second row.
Iain Henderson, who has been Ryan’s usual partner, does not make the bench either as he only recently returned to training and has not played for seven weeks.
Ryan has been out of action for 10 weeks – Ryan Baird is on the bench as backup.
Captain and flyhalf Johnny Sexton will be partnered by his Leinster teammate Jamison Gibson-Park, the New Zealand-born scrumhalf having justified his starting spot ahead of veteran Conor Murray in the autumn.
Murray and flank Peter O’Mahony form part of a very experienced bench alongside prop Cian Healy, while Joey Carbery has proved he has recovered from a broken elbow to be Sexton’s understudy.
Hooker Dan Sheehan and centre James Hume are in line for their first Six Nations appearances as they fill out the bench.
Whilst the hosts are pretty much at full strength, they will start favourites on Saturday against a Wales side that has been denuded of loads of talent and experience like iconic skipper Alun Wyn Jones.
Sexton, who will win his 102nd cap, has discounted talk of an easy ride – another factor thrown in how poorly the Welsh regions have fared in Europe this term – saying it would be insulting to the Welsh players.
Ireland – 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Andrew Porter.
Subs: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 James Hume.
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