Six Nations: Ireland make six changes for Italy clash as Caelan Doris captains

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Peter O’Mahony, Bundee Aki, Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Josh van der Flier drop out of Ireland starting XV to face Italy on Sunday (3pm kick-off); Stuart McCloskey, Craig Casey, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan come in; Caelan Doris named captain

By Michael Cantillon

Ireland have made six changes to their side to face Italy in Round 2 of the Six Nations, as back-row Caelan Doris captains the side for the first time.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland began the championship with a sensational 38-17 victory away to France in Marseille last Friday, but a number of key performers will not play this weekend in Dublin.

Captain and flanker Peter O’Mahony, centre Bundee Aki, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, tighthead Tadhg Furlong, lock Tadhg Beirne and openside Josh van der Flier drop out of the starting XV, with only Gibson-Park and Van der Flier named among the replacements.

In their places come Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey, Munster scrum-half Craig Casey, Connacht tighthead Finlay Bealham, Leinster second-row James Ryan and back-row duo Ryan Baird and Jack Conan.

Scrum-half Craig Casey comes in to start as one of six Ireland changes

Having all impressed in France, young trio Joe McCarthy, Jack Crowley and Calvin Nash each start again, with the latter shaking off a dead-leg to do so.

The back-three remains the same as full-back Hugo Keenan and left wing James Lowe combine with Nash, while Robbie Henshaw retains his place at outside-centre, with Garry Ringrose (shoulder) still not fit.

Casey partners Crowley in an all-Munster half-back pairing, while loosehead Andrew Porter and hooker Dan Sheehan make up the front-row unit alongside Bealham.

McCarthy partners Ryan in the second-row, while the back-row sees Doris move from No 8 to openside, Conan come in to start at No 8 and Baird replace O’Mahony at blindside.

Stuart McCloskey has been named to start at inside-centre, replacing Bundee Aki

Among the replacements, loosehead Jeremy Loughman, tighthead Tom O’Toole and lock Iain Henderson are all in line to make their first appearances of the tournament, with Ronan Kelleher again named as hooker cover.

Harry Byrne replaces Leinster team-mate Ciaran Frawley as out-half cover, while Jordan Larmour is drafted in as a…

Read More: Six Nations: Ireland make six changes for Italy clash as Caelan Doris captains 2024-02-09 15:11:15

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