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

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.

Andrew Porter makes his first Six Nations start.
Andrew Porter makes his first Six Nations start.

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.

Dan Leavy’s poaching skills are impressive.
Dan Leavy’s poaching skills are impressive.

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.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.