Paul O’Connell will lead Ireland out on Sunday against Wales as Ireland seek revenge over Wales for their controversial victory in last year’s tournament and the loss in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Gordon D’Arcy surprisingly continues in the inside centre berth, partnered by Keith Earls, with the highly rated Fergus McFadden on the bench. Peter O’Mahony could win a first cap off the bench, whilst the youthful pairing of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton continue at half-back.
15. Rob Kearney, 14. Tommy Bowe, 13. Fergus McFadden, 12. Gordon D’Arcy, 11. Andrew Trimble, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray, 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rory Best, 3. Mike Ross, 4. Donnacha O’Callaghan, 5. Paul O’Connell (c), 6. Stephen Ferris, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip
16. Sean Cronin, 17. Tom Court, 18. Donnacha Ryan, 19. Peter O’Mahony, 20. Eoin Reddan, 21. Ronan O’Gara, 22. TBC
UPDATE: Keith Earls has withdrawn after his new-born daughter was taken ill. We wish her a speedy recovery!