Ireland v Wales: Irish player profiles
Joe Schmidt’s side will face Wales on Saturday with a mixture of youth and experience
Chris Farrell comes in for the injured Robbie Henshaw. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
15 Rob Kearney
Age: 31 Height: 6’2 Weight: 95kg (14st 13lbs)Caps: 80 Points: 67
Positional play and excellent communication skills will be important in marshalling a relatively inexperienced backline.
14 Keith Earls
Age: 30 Height: 5’10” Weight: 86kg (13st 7lbs) Caps: 64 Points: 135
Has been in brilliant form this season at his sharp and elusive best and bears all the hallmarks of someone enjoying his rugby.
13 Chris Farrell
Age: 24 Height: 6’4” Weight: 110kg (17st 4lbs) Caps: 2 Points: 0
Some look at his size and think he’s one dimensional but Farrell has a rounded game and a good temperament.
12 Bundee Aki
Age: 27 Height: 6’ Weight: 101kg (15st 12lbs) Caps: 4 Points: 5
Probably would never have envisaged being the senior member of the midfield partnership at this stage in his career; so important to Ireland’s go forward ball.
11 Jacob Stockdale
Age: 21 Height: 6’3” Weight: 102kg (16st) Caps: 6 Points: 30
Up against the Lions Test fullback in Liam Williams so will have to be assertive in defence while maintaining his remarkable contribution and strike-rate in attack.
10 Johnny Sexton
Age: 32 Height: 6’2” Weight: 92kg (14st 6lbs) Caps: 70 Points: 664
The fulcrum of Ireland’s attacking game, the master strategist will need to be at his best to escape Wales’s shackling defence.
9 Conor Murray
Age: 28 Height: 6’2” Weight: 94kg (14st 11lbs) Caps: 61Points: 58
His box-kicking game is an important tool in Ireland’s attacking philosophy along with his all-round ability.
1 Cian Healy
Age: 30 Height: 6’1 Weight: 115kg (18st 1lb) Caps: 75 Points: 15
Returns to the side and his carrying with complementary footwork can force chinks in opposition defences.
2 Rory Best (capt)
Age: 35 Height: 5’11” Weight: 105kg (16st 7lbs) Caps: 108 Points: 45
The set-piece is always a primary battleground and that won’t change for this match. Leads by example.
3 Andrew Porter
Age: 22 Height: 6’ Weight: 120kg (18st 12lbs) Caps: 4 Points: 0
Performances have been remarkably mature for a player who has made the notoriously difficult shift across the frontrow; he is powerful and athletic with an impressive top speed.
4 Devin Toner
Age: 31 Height: 6’10” Weight: 124kg (19st 7lbs) Caps: 55 Points: 10
Ireland’s lineout guru and master tactician, he was conspicuous in leading the line-speed in defence against Italy and showing up to carry.
5 James Ryan
Age: 21 Height: 6’8” Weight: 108kg (17st) Caps: 5 Points: 5
A wonderful athlete with a rugby brain to match, it’s instructive to watch the accuracy of what he does in attack and defence.
6 Peter O’Mahony
Age: 28 Height: 6’3” Weight: 107kg (16st 11lbs) Caps: 44 Points: 5
Showed his handling ability the last time out to add to his more celebrated qualities at the lineout and the breakdown.
7 Dan Leavy
Age: 23 Height: 6’3” Weight: 106kg (16st9lbs) Caps: 6 Points: 10
Footwork and ability to identify soft shoulders make him an effective carrier, while his poaching skills are impressive.
8 CJ Stander
Age: 27 Height: 6’1” Weight: 114kg (17st 13lbs) Caps: 20 Points: 35
Restored to the starting team having come off the bench and this week spoke about his evolution as a player which requires more passing and footwork to augment his power.