Ireland v Scotland: Player profiles of Andy Farrell’s first team selection

Patrick Madden looks at the XV to take on Scotland in Saturday’s Six Nations opener

Gerry Thornley and Gavin Cummiskey look ahead to Ireland's first match of the 2020 Six Nations against Scotland and predict a change in style of play under new head coach Andy Farrell.

 

15 Jordan Larmour (Leinster)

Age: 22
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 87kg (13st, 7lbs)
Caps: 21
Ireland’s new era begins with a new first-choice fullback in situ. Larmour has shaken off a foot injury and can transfer his fine form from a blue jersey into the green one.

14 Andrew Conway (Munster)

Age: 28
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 90kg (14st, 2lbs)
Caps: 18
Ireland’s top scorer at the World Cup, Conway gets the nod ahead of veteran Munster team-mate Keith Earls. Strong in the air as well as having an eye for the line.

Conor Murray continues his halfback partnership with Johnny Sexton. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Conor Murray continues his halfback partnership with Johnny Sexton. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

13 Garry Ringrose (Leinster)

Age: 25
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 94kg (14st, 9lbs)
Caps: 28
Ireland’s midfield linchpin, Ringrose holds the backline together on both sides of the ball. He often provides the greatest attacking spark and reads the game brilliantly in defence.

12 Bundee Aki (Connacht)

Age: 29
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 92kg (14st, 5lbs)
Caps: 23
A lucrative new contract highlights his ongoing importance to Ireland, as does his selection ahead of a fit Robbie Henshaw. Will provide the usual steel and silk in midfield.

11 Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

Age: 23
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 103kg (16st, 3lbs)
Caps: 25
Stockdale’s return to form in the white of Ulster has been enjoyable and timely. A more expansive style from Ireland could see him return to the unstoppable heights of 2018.

10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster)

Age: 34
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 92kg (14st, 5lbs)
Caps: 88
The talismanic Sexton lines out for the first time since injuring his knee playing for Leinster in December, and he will lead the side out as the new permanent captain.

9 Conor Murray (Munster)

Age: 30
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 93kg (14st, 7lbs
Caps: 78
Andy Farrell has retained faith in Murray ahead of the in-form John Cooney. He will be determined to show exactly why against Scotland and rubbish any suggestion his powers are on the wane.

James Ryan has become Ireland’s mist influential player. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
James Ryan has become Ireland’s mist influential player. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

1 Cian Healy (Leinster)

Age: 32
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 117kg (18st, 4lbs)
Caps: 95
Healy could become Ireland’s latest centurion if he appears in all five of Ireland’s fixtures, and will provide the usual set-piece security as well as physicality around the pitch.

2 Rob Herring (Ulster)

Age: 29
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 102kg (16st)
Caps: 8
Herring has kept the prodigious Rónan Kelleher at bay, for now. He becomes Ireland’s first number two after Rory Best and will need to perform to keep his starting role.

3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)

Age: 27
Height: 6’
Weight: 122kg (19st, 3lbs)
Caps: 41
Andrew Porter would be a starter for most teams but Furlong is immovable from this Ireland side. Scotland will still be scarred from his rampaging performance at the World Cup.

4 James Ryan (Leinster)

Age: 23
Height: 6’8”
Weight: 107kg (16st, 9lbs)
Caps: 23
The captaincy will have to wait for now but Ryan is quickly growing into Ireland’s most influential player. A freak of nature on both sides of the ball, he is also a born leader.

5 Iain Henderson (Ulster)

Age: 23
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 117kg (18st, 4lbs)
Caps: 53
Preferred again to the lineout prowess of Devin Toner, Ulster captain Henderson leads by example and has the priceless ability to generate momentum of static and slow ball.

Caelan Doris’s meteoric rise has earned him and Ireland debut in the opening Six nations game against Scotland at the Aviva stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Caelan Doris’s meteoric rise has earned him and Ireland debut in the opening Six nations game against Scotland at the Aviva stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

6 CJ Stander (Munster)

Age: 29
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 114kg (17st, 11lbs)
Caps: 38
The backrow has been reshuffled and Farrell has decided Ireland can’t head into the Six Nations without the numbers Stander produces in attack and defence, so he’s moved across to number six.

7 Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

Age: 26
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 107kg (16st, 9lbs)
Caps: 23
Van der Flier isn’t the world’s biggest number seven but his athleticism brings a nice balance to this Irish backrow – keep an eye out for that red scrum cap causing mischief on the floor.

8 Caelan Doris (Leinster)

Age: 21
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 106kg (16st, 7lbs)
Caps: 0
The new boy gets his big chance. Doris’s performances for Leinster could no longer be ignored – the Mayo-born 21-year-old looks every inch a Test match number eight.

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