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Lowe starts for Ireland against Wales with Burns set for debut off bench

Head coach Andy Farrell has named a much-changed matchday 23 for the Autumn Nations Cup clash.

James Lowe starts for Ireland against Wales.
James Lowe starts for Ireland against Wales.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell has handed James Lowe a starting Test debut in his team to face Wales in the opening game of the Autumn Nations Cup on Friday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin [KO 7pm, RTÉ/Channel 4].

Leinster wing Lowe, a native of New Zealand, is now eligible to play for Ireland after three years of residency here and will win his first cap against the Welsh.

Farrell has made seven personnel changes to his starting XV after the Six Nations defeat to France two weekends ago, while Ulster out-half Billy Burns is set for his Ireland debut off the bench. 

Jacob Stockdale continues at fullback as Hugo Keenan switches to the right wing and Lowe comes in on the left. 

Munster’s Chris Farrell is handed a start at outside centre, with Robbie Henshaw shifting into the number 12 shirt. 

Jamison Gibson-Park gets his first Ireland start at scrum-half as Conor Murray moves to the bench, with captain Johnny Sexton continuing as the starting out-half.

The fit-again Ronan Kelleher has been named at hooker, with Cian Healy and Andrew Porter continuing as the starting props, while Iain Henderson returns from suspension to partner James Ryan in the second row.

A reshuffled back row sees Peter O’Mahony and Josh van der Flier coming into the starting XV and Caelan Doris moving to number eight as CJ Stander is rested. 

Connacht lock Quinn Roux, Ulster playmaker Burns and fit-again Munster man Keith Earls have been introduced to the bench.

Andrew Conway, Bundee Aki, Stander, Tadhg Beirne, and Rob Herring drop out of the matchday 23.

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Ireland are part of Group A in the new Autumn Nations Cup. Their clash with Wales will be followed by a visit to Twickenham to face England on 21 November and a home fixture against Georgia on 29 November.

Farrell’s men will then face the equally-ranked team from Group B in their final play-off match at the Aviva Stadium on 5 December. 

Ireland (v Wales):

15. Jacob Stockdale
14. Hugo Keenan
13. Chris Farrell
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton (captain)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Cian Healy
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Andrew Porter
4. Iain Henderson
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris

Replacements:

16. Dave Heffernan
17. Ed Byrne
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Quinn Roux
20. Will Connors
21. Conor Murray
22. Billy Burns
23. Keith Earls

Referee: Mathieu Raynal [FFR].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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