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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
James Crombie/INPHO
# starting XV
Donnacha Ryan to start first international in over two years as Ireland take on Wales
Here’s the starting line-up for a new international season.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt has handed Munster second row Donnacha Ryan a first cap under his tenure for Saturday’s opening Rugby World Cup warm-up against Wales in Cardiff (kick-off 14.30).

The Tipperary man’s last game in green was the 2013 Six Nations defeat away to Italy and he then endured a problematic toe injury until making a spring return for his province.

Ryan takes his place in an experienced pack alongside Iain Henderson in the second row.

Jamie Heaslip captains the side in a back row with Tommy O’Donnell and Jordi Murphy while Mike Ross continues his run of starting every game under Joe Schmidt with Jack McGrath and Richardt Strauss completing the front row.

There are no uncapped players in the 23-man squad, but the ‘new combination’ promised by coaching staff come in the shape of the Keith Earls and Darren Cave midfield axis. Paddy Jackson is given the nod at out-half with Eoin Reddan at number nine.

The other big name returning from injury is Ireland’s 2014 Player of the Year Andrew Trimble. The Ulster wing missed the majority of last season after suffering a broken toe in the home win over eventual Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors. Fergus McFadden and Felix Jones complete the back three with Simon Zebo in reserve.

Ireland (v Wales):

15. Felix Jones
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Keith Earls
12. Darren Cave
11. Fergus McFadden
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Eoin Reddan

1. Jack McGrath
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Mike Ross
4. Iain Henderson
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. Jordi Murphy
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Jamie Heaslip (captain)

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Replacements:

16. Rory Best
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Michael Bent
19. Dan Tuohy
20. Chris Henry
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Ian Madigan
23. Simon Zebo

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