Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has announced a strong team to face South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm) for the first game of the 2014 GUINNESS Series.
There is one new cap in the matchday 23 with Ulster’s Jared Payne set to make his Ireland debut alongside Robbie Henshaw in an exciting new centre partnership.
Paul O’Connell captains the side and is joined in the engine room by Devin Toner, with the Limerick man’s 95th cap seeing him become Ireland’s most-capped second row.
The back row is made up of Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry and Peter O’Mahony, while the front row sees Jack McGrath and Mike Ross pack down either side of their provincial team-mate Sean Cronin.
Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton are reunited at half-back and Tommy Bowe returns to the back-three for the first time since last year’s GUINNESS Series. He lines out alongside Simon Zebo and full-back Rob Kearney.
There is plenty of impact on the bench with Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne, Rodney Ah You, Mike McCarthy and Rhys Ruddock providing cover for the pack and Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan and Felix Jones covering the outfield.
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v South Africa, 2014 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 8, kick-off 5.30pm):
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 55
14. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 54
13. Jared Payne (Ulster) *
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3
11. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 8
10. Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92) 45
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 28
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 10
2. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 35
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 41
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 17
5. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 94 (capt)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 23
7. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 16
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 67
16. Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster) 4
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 10
18. Rodney Ah You (Buccaneers/Connacht) 1
19. Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 15
20. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 3
21. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 55
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 10
23. Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster) 6
* Denotes uncapped player