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Published: 14:16 | 5/2/16

CJ Stander named in Ireland XV to face Wales

Schmidt includes just six of the players that started the World Cup quarter-final

South-African born CJ Stander will make his Ireland debut in Sunday’s Six Nations opener against Wales at the Aviva.

The Munster captain will start at blindside flanker for Ireland in a new look selection.

Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney, who both sat out Friday’s training session, have failed to prove their fitness, so Simon Zebo starts at fullback with Tommy O’Donnell at openside.

Jamie Heaslip continues at number eight, with Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton starting in the half-backs.

There are just six of the players that started the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina named in the XV with Andrew Trimble, who missed out entirely at the World Cup, named on the wing.

Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are reunited in midfield with Keith Earls lining out on the opposite wing.

New skipper Rory Best is joined in the front row by Jack McGrath and Nathan White, while Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy will attempt to fill the void left by the mighty Paul O’Connell in the second row.

In the replacements, Ian Madigan is preferred to Paddy Jackson, while Kieran Marmion is preferred as back-up scrum-half ahead of Eoin Reddan.

Ireland XV (v Wales): S Zebo; A Trimble, J Payne, R Henshaw, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best (capt), N White; D Toner, M McCarthy; CJ Stander, T O’Donnell, J Heaslip.

Replacements:S Cronin, J Cronin, T Furlong, D Ryan, R Ruddock, K Marmion, I Madigan, D Kearney.

Murray shines as Ireland beat France

19:08 | 25/2/17

Man-of-the-match Conor Murray scored the only try of the game, as Ireland beat France 19-9 in the Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Scrums frustrate Schmidt; lauds Sexton

20:29 | 25/2/17

Joe Schmidt has admitted his frustration at the number of collapsed scrums during Ireland's 19-9 victory over France in their Six Nations encounter at the Aviva...

Cullen praise for Byrne

12:11 | 25/2/17

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen praised Ed Byrne's "mental resilience", after the prop made his first appearance for 28 months in Friday's Pro 12 win at Dragons.

Sexton gets the nod over Jackson

16:07 | 23/2/17

Johnny Sexton has been named in the Ireland starting XV for Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash with France.

France make three changes for Ireland

11:12 | 23/2/17

France boss Guy Noves has made three changes to his starting XV for the RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

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