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New captain for Ireland

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Head coach Andy Farrell has named his Ireland team to face Italy in Round Two of the Six Nations at Lansdowne Road on Sunday.

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Ireland opened their Championship with a bonus point win away in France last weekend, and return to a sold-out Lansdowne Road for their first home match of 2024 against the Azzurri.

Caelan Doris will captain Farrell’s side for the first time, becoming the 110th player to captain the Ireland team in Test rugby.

Farrell has selected an unchanged back three for the Round Two clash as Hugo Keenan starts at fullback, while Calvin Nash and James Lowe continue on the wings. Robbie Henshaw is retained at outside centre, with Stuart McCloskey coming into the Ireland midfield at inside centre.

Having made his first Six Nations start last weekend in Marseille, Jack Crowley remains at flyhalf and is partnered by his Munster teammate Craig Casey in the halfback.

In the pack, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Finlay Bealham make up the front row, with James Ryan coming into the starting XV to partner Joe McCarthy in the second row.

Ryan Baird is named at blindside flank, Doris shifts to openside and Jack Conan completes the starting team at No.8.

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Farrell has strong options among his replacements with Ronan Kelleher, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson and Josh van der Flier providing the reinforcements in the pack, while Jamison Gibson-Park, Harry Byrne and Jordan Larmour are the backline replacements.

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Caelan Doris, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 James Ryan, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Jordan Larmour.

Date: Sunday, February 11
Venue: Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT; 16.00 Italy time)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Luc Ramos (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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