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Farrell names team for Six Nations opener

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Peter O’Mahony will lead Ireland when they face France in their Six Nations opener against France in Marseilles on Friday.

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Head Coach Andy Farrell has named a strong side with a number of players in line for their Championship debuts in green.

Joe McCarthy has been named to start in the second row alongside Tadhg Beirne, while Calvin Nash lines up on the right wing having made his Test debut against Italy in last year’s Nations Series.

Nash is joined in the back three by Hugo Keenan at fullback and James Lowe on the left, with Bundee Aki partnering Robbie Henshaw in the Ireland midfield.

Among the, Jamison Gibson-Park starts at nine alongside Jack Crowley at flyhalf, who is in line for his first Six Nations start.

Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong are selected in the front row, with McCarthy set for his sixth cap in the engine room beside Beirne. Captain O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris complete the Ireland starting team.

Farrell has opted for a six-two split on the replacements bench with Ronan Kelleher, the fit again Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan providing the reinforcements in the pack, with Conor Murray and Ciaran Frawley – also in line for his first Championship appearance – the backline options.

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Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Ciaran Frawley.

Date: Friday, February 2
Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Kick-off: 21.00 (20.00 GMT; 20.00 UK and Ireland time)
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England) & Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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