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Three bright prospects set to debut as Ireland take on Six Nations front-runners England

Ireland’s form players in the Pro12 this season, Stuart McCloskey and Josh van der Flier, will start in London.

ULSTER CENTRE STUART McCloskey and Leinster flanker Josh van der Flier will both make make their international debut on Saturday when Ireland meet Six Nations leaders England in Twickenham (kick-off 16.50).

Stuart McCloskey Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The pair are two of five changes made by Joe Schmidt from the side who lost to France in Paris last time out.

McCloskey, 23, starts in place of provincial team-mate Jared Payne to edge Robbie Henshaw from inside to outside centre. Van der Flier will wear the number seven jersey vacated by Sean O’Brien when he was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

Josh van der Flier Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

There is likely to be a third Irish debutant in London as Connacht lock Ultan Dillane is named as cover for Devin Toner and his new second row partner Donnacha Ryan. Mike Ross returns from injury to replace Nathan White at tighthead prop.

Keith Earls’ journey through the concussion return to play protocols has brought him back on to the left wing ahead of Simon Zebo, who is joined among the replacements by Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Rhys Ruddock, Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan.

Ireland

15. Rob Kearney
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

Rory Best Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Mike Ross
4. Donnacha Ryan
5. Devin Toner
6. CJ Stander
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss
17. Cian Healy
18. Nathan White
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Rhys Ruddock
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Simon Zebo

England

15.Mike Brown
14. Anthony Watson
13. Jonathan Joseph
12. Owen Farrell
11. Jack Nowell
10. George Ford
9. Ben Youngs

1. Joe Marler
2. Dylan Hartley (captain)
3. Dan Cole
4. Maro Itoje
5. George Kruis
6. Chris Robshaw
7. James Haskell
8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements:

16. Jamie George
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Paul Hill
19. Courtney Lawes
20. Jack Clifford
21. Danny Care
22. Elliot Daly
23. Alex Goode

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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