Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong has been dominated out of Saturday’s Six Nations opener away to Wales on account of a calf damage.
Connacht’s Finlay Bealham will begin rather than Furlong at tighthead in Cardiff, with Tom O’Toole offering cowl from the bench.
Leinster man Furlong has been sidelined by ankle and calf points in latest weeks however is progressing effectively and anticipated again match throughout the subsequent seven days.
Andy Farrell’s maiden choice of the match accommodates no additional surprises as his aspect search to construct on a stellar 2022 which propelled them to the highest of the world rankings.
Centre Stuart McCloskey will make his first look within the championship since his Test debut seven years in the past.
The Ulster participant has retained the quantity 12 jersey forward of Bundee Aki to proceed his midfield partnership with Garry Ringrose, having impressed in November’s victories over South Africa, Fiji and Australia.
His solely earlier look within the match got here in 2016 when he received the primary of his 9 caps to this point in a 21-10 loss to England at Twickenham.
James Lowe returns on the left wing after lacking the autumn marketing campaign with a calf damage, whereas captain Johnny Sexton is able to lead the aspect from fly-half having overcome his cheekbone situation.
Sexton will likely be partnered by Leinster team-mate Jamison Gibson-Park within the half-back positions, with Mack Hansen on the appropriate wing and Hugo Keenan at full-back.
Munster lock Tadhg Beirne has been given the nod over fit-again Iain Henderson in a reasonably settled ahead pack and can line up alongside vice-captain James Ryan.
Hooker Dan Sheehan will pack down between Andrew Porter and Bealham, whereas reigning world participant of the 12 months Josh Van Der Flier and Peter O’Mahony are both aspect of Caelan Doris within the again row.
Ross Byrne has been most popular to rookie Jack Crowley as back-up for quantity 10 Sexton.
He is joined on the bench by Aki, who was suspended for Ireland’s first two matches in November and has not performed since December 23 on account of being dropped by Connacht, O’Toole, Henderson, Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Jack Conan and Conor Murray.
Ireland head to Cardiff from their pre-tournament camp in Portugal as marginal title favourites forward of 2022 Grand Slam winners France.
The Irish haven’t received a Six Nations match on the Principality Stadium since 2013 and suffered an agonising 21-16 loss there of their opening fixture of the 2021 championship.