Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named the team which will take on Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday 7th February in Ireland’s opening fixture of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship. There is one new cap in the starting XV.

Rory Best wins his 90th cap as he assumes the captain’s role and is joined in the front row by Jack McGrath and Nathan White. 

The second row sees Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy paired together while the backrow consists of the uncapped CJ Stander on the blindside, Tommy O’Donnell at openside and Jamie Heaslip at No.8.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are partnered at halfback while Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are reunited in midfield. 

Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls fill the wing positions with Simon Zebo lining out at fullback.

The replacements are Sean Cronin, James Cronin, Tadgh Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Kieran Marmion, Ian Madigan and Dave Kearney.

Ireland Team & Replacements (v Wales, RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Sunday 7th February)

15. Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster) 21 
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 58
13. Jared Payne (Ulster) 10 
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 15 
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 46 
10. Jonathan Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 56 
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 42
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 25
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 89 Captain 
3. Nathan White (Connacht) 8 
4. Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 17 
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 31 

6. CJ Stander (Munster)* 
7. Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 9 
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 80 Vice-Captain 


16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 48 
17. James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster) 2 
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 3 
19. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 34 
20. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 6 
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 4 
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 25
23. David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 14

*Denotes uncapped player