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Ireland Team Named For Italy Match

Ireland Team Named For Italy Match

The Ireland coaching team have named the matchday squad to take on Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm). There are two changes in the back-line from the team that started against England.

Rob Kearney is ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury and his place at full-back goes to Simon Zebo. The fit-again Jared Payne returns to partner Robbie Henshaw in the centre with the latter reverting to number 12 having lined out at 13 against England.

Jonathan Sexton will win his 60th cap on Saturday afternoon as he lines out alongside Conor Murray in the half-backs.

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Josh van der Flier will win his second cap at openside flanker and make his home debut at the Aviva Stadium. Ultan Dillane, another debutant at Twickenham, is on the bench and will hope to make his home bow.

Team captain Rory Best will become the seventh Irish player to make 50 Six Nations appearances after Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Mike Gibson, John Hayes, Willie John McBride and Paul O’Connell.

Replacement hooker Sean Cronin is set to earn his 50th cap if he comes on from the bench on Saturday. Cronin made his debut against Fiji in 2009. He scored the first of his three tries for Ireland against Italy in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship. Kieran Marmion and Fergus McFadden are also included among the replacements.

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Italy, 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, March 12, kick-off 1.30pm):

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 23
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 61
13. Jared Payne (Ulster) 12
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 18
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 48                                         
10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 59
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 45
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 28
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 92 (capt)                                                          
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 57                                                           
4. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 37       
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 34
6. CJ Stander (Munster) 3
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 1
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 83 (vice-capt)                             

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 49     
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 57                             
18. Nathan White (Connacht) 11                                   
19. Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 1                         
20. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 8                              
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 4 
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 28
23. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 30