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Furlong Out As Andy Farrell Names Ireland Team For Six Nations Opener

Furlong Out As Andy Farrell Names Ireland Team For Six Nations Opener
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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The Ireland team for the Six Nations opener against Wales is here, after Andy Farrell named his XV from the squad's training camp in Portugal on Thursday afternoon.

The headline news will be the absence of Tadhg Furlong at tighthead prop, with Connacht's Finlay Bealham stepping in for the injured Leinster front row. Furlong has not played since early December, and was not deemed fit enough to make the squad for the opener against Wales.

Stuart McCloskey is trusted to continue at centre, ahead of the returning Bundee Aki, while Johnny Sexton has made it back to full fitness in time to be named at out-half. Conor Murray has managed to retain his spot on the bench at scrum-half, ahead of fellow Munsterman Craig Casey.

The clash with Wales gets underway at 2:15pm in Cardiff on Saturday, in the opening game of this year's tournament. For the first time ever, Ireland enter the Six Nations as the #1 ranked team in the world, after a magnificent 2022 that saw them beat New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia.

Andy Farrell names first Ireland team of Six Nations


Ireland XV to play Wales

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster)

14. Mack Hansen (Connacht)

13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)


12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)

11. James Lowe (Leinster)

10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster)


9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)

1. Andrew Porter (Leinster)


2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster)


3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht)

4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)

5. James Ryan (Leinster)


6. Peter O'Mahony (Munster)

7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

8. Caelan Doris (Leinster)


Ireland replacements v Wales

16. Rob Herring, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Tom O'Toole, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Bundee Aki

Earlier this week, Warren Gatland named the first starting XV of his second era with Wales, having returned to the job he vacated in 2019.

It is a hark back to the Gatland Wales teams of old, with members of the old guard such as Leigh Halfpenny, George North, and Alex Cuthbert still involved. Alun Wyn Jones starts, six years since his Wales debut in the 2007 Six Nations - also against Ireland in Cardiff.

Wales XV for Six Nations opener: Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Adams, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens (captain), Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau

Wales replacements: Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffel, Rhys Webb, Owen Williams, Alex Cuthbert

SEE ALSO: Ronan O'Gara's Last Dance With Ireland Still Stings, 10 Years On

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