Andy Farrell has named the Ireland team to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm) in round four of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations.
Jonathan Sexton returns to the starting XV – as one of six personnel changes – and will captain the side from out-half. Jamison Gibson-Park is selected alongside him at half-back.
Bundee Aki is restored to the midfield to partner Garry Ringrose, while Andrew Conway and Hugo Keenan come back into the back-field alongside James Lowe, who is retained from the recent bonus point win over Italy.
Cian Healy wins his 115th cap, taking over from the injured Andrew Porter at loosehead prop, in a front row that also includes Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong.
Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan line out together in the engine room, with Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris make up an unchanged back row.
In the replacements, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, the returning Iain Henderson and Jack Conan cover the pack. Conor Murray, Joey Carbery and Robbie Henshaw are the back-line options.
Speaking about some of the toughest selection calls, Farrell said: “We just think the balance is right for this game. Pete (O’Mahony) is in good form. Not just physically, but he’s a good emotional leader for us as well.
“Leadership is a big part of every team performance. Obviously we know what Pete brings as far as the set-piece is concerned and the breakdown is concerned, but the rest of his game has come on an absolute treat.
“His attack stuff has really stepped up. I think he played really well against Italy. I also thought Jack (Conan) played really well coming off the bench and had a big impact. Again, I think the balance is right for this week.
“The learnings that James (Lowe) had taken on board, certainly to be able to perform on the big stage at international level, is something we want to see at the weekend.
“Obviously he is a big threat, ball in hand. He also links very well as does Mack (Hansen) and we all know that he’s got a left boot on him as well. Obviously James being on the left wing and left footed is a big advantage for us.”
He added: “It’s something that we’ve been toying with. Cian has obviously got experience and is champing at the bit for an opportunity, as is ‘Killer’.
“We feel that the combination at set-piece time is pretty important with Cian there. Cian will go hard and Dave will add when he comes on.
“I think Bundee has been playing really well. I think there’s big aspects of his game that have come on strong. Again, he’s obviously known for his aggressive, ball-carrying style, but the delicacies of his game has really come on as well.
“We think he deserves a game. Having said that, obviously Robbie with a little bit of a lack of game-time, etc, he’s good to go and fully fit. Raring to come on and add to the team as well.”
Saturday’s eagerly-awaited clash in London will be televised by RTE (ROI) and ITV (NI). Both sides require a victory to maintain their Championship ambitions.
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v England, 2022 Guinness Six Nations, Twickenham, Saturday, March 12, kick-off 4.45pm):
15. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 18
14. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 29
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 40
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 35
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 10
10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt) 103
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 15
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 114
2. Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 5
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 55
4. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 28
5. James Ryan (UCD) 42
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 82
7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 38
8. Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 15
16. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 24
17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 46
18. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 21
19. Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 66
20. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 25
21. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 94
22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 30
23. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 55