Henshaw Starts At Full-Back Against England

Robbie Henshaw will start at full-back for the first time in an Ireland jersey against England in the opening Guinness Six Nations clash on Saturday.

Normally a centre, Henshaw has got the nod over 87 times capped Rob Kearney, the Leinster man failing to convince Joe Schmidt of his match-sharpness.

The rest of the team was named along expected lines, with seven of the eight forwards who started against New Zealand in November back in harness.

Cian Healy, captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong, make up the front row.

James Ryan and Devin Toner resumed their second -row partnership after Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson suffered injuries in the build-up.

With Dan Leavy injured, Schmidt has opted to start with Josh van der Flier at openside. CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony make up the rest of the back row.

Sean O’Brien, who broke his arm against Argentina in November, is on the bench.

Conor Murray makes a return to international duty at scrum-half, with World Rugby Player of the Year Johnny Sexton at out-half.

Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose are named in the centre, with 2018 Six Nations top try-scorer Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls on the wings.

Meanwhile, England captain Owen Farrell has been passed fit to start the game. The Saracens out half had been a doubt after undergoing thumb surgery, but has been handed the number 10 shirt.

Mako and Billy Vunipola are both named in the pack, while centre Manu Tuilagi has been handed his first test start since 2014.

Ireland: R Henshaw; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; P O’Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander

Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, A Porter, Q Roux, S O’Brien, J Cooney, J Carbery, J Larmour