Munster player to make Six Nations debut for Ireland against Wales

Rex Christensen
March 16, 2019

They will hope to crown it by beating Wales to deny them the Grand Slam and keep their hopes of a fourth title since Schmidt took over after the 2013 Six Nations tournament alive - that will depend on whether Scotland beat England at Twickenham.

Flanker Sean O'Brien comes in at openside joining Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander in the back row while Tadhg Beirne has been given the opportunity to show what he can do on the brightest stage at the Principality Stadium as he partners James Ryan in the second-row.

Rory Best will captain from the front row in between Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

Wales are bidding for a third Grand Slam under Gatland, which would be a record for any Five or Six Nations coach if his players accomplish it. Meanwhile, Tadgh Beirne is set to make his first Six Nations start for Ireland.

"He probably would have liked to have had a bit more game time leading into it but it's just a case of slotting people in", said Schmidt. If it was me I'd be concentrating on playing Scotland. I've got no comment on Eddie Jones talking about us.

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"That's been a really positive challenge for us throughout the Six Nations, to still try to get some cohesion".

O'Brien's fellow veteran full-back Rob Kearney has recovered from a calf injury, which ruled him out on the morning of the France game, to return and his dependability under the high ball will be crucial.

The Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton half-back partnership remains intact, while Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre.

Niall Scannell and Dave Kilcoyne have been named among the replacements.

The inclusion of Rob Kearney at fullback means Jordan Larmour will be on a bench which includes three Connacht players - Roux, Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty.

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