Joe Schmidt has named his Ireland squad to face France this weekend.

Ireland Six Nations Squad 2019 – Team To Play Wales

Ireland Team to play Wales in the Six Nations – Saturday 16th March

Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.

Joe Schmidt has named a very strong Irish side looking to deny a Welsh Grand Slam this weekend in Cardiff.

With Iain Henderson ruled out through injury Tadhg Beirne will make his first start of the tournament partnering James Ryan in the second-row. The only other changes are the replacements of Jordan Armour and Josh van der Flier for Rob Kearney and Sean O’Brien.

Ireland Team to play France in the Six Nations – Sunday 10th March

Jordan Larmour; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong; Iain Henderson, James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Ultan Dillane, Jack Conan, John Cooney, Jack Carty.

Ireland Team to play Italy in the Six Nations – Sunday 23rd February

Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, John Cooney, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway.

Ireland Team to play Scotland in the Six Nations – Saturday 9th February

Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Quinn Roux, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, John Cooney, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

Ireland Team to play England in the Six Nations – Saturday 2nd February

Robbie Henshaw; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, John Cooney, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour

Ireland Six Nations Squad 2019

Original squad –

Forwards (21): Rory BestJack Conan, Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier

Backs (17): Will Addison, Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade, Adam Byrne, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Tom Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale 

Joe Schmidt has named an incredibly strong Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the 2019 Six Nations.

Aside from Jonathan Sexton who has a knee issue which ruled him out of Leinster’s contest with Wasps last weekend, the Irish have their first choice players in each position available.

In the front-row Schmidt has Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong all available with Andrew Porter and Jack McGrath both providing world-class cover off the bench.

James Ryan, Devin Toner, and Iain Henderson will battle it out for the two starting lock positions however it is in the back-row where the Irish truly have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Tadhg Beirne unfortunately has been ruled out of the first two rounds of the tournament with a knee injury, with Quinn Roux coming in.

Joe Schmidt said of this problem; “Even more competitive is the back row, where those selected could well be joined by Dan Leavy once he’s fully fit.

“With a cohort of young players emerging, it will continue to keep plenty of pressure on the performances of the experienced back rowers who have been selected.”

Cause for Concern? The Irish scrum-half position has been hit by injuries of late (Getty Images)

Shifting to the back-line, one area of concern could be the scrum-half role. Conor Murray has had injury issues of late and his usual replacement Luke McGrath is out for an extended period of time with a serious knee injury. Kieran Marmion has also been out for a bit but he is due to return at some stage during the tournament.

As far as the rest of the back-line goes it is the usual crop of players who are likely to start. Sexton is due to return during the tournament and then you have the destructive threesome of Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw to fit into two centres jerseys.

Finally, the back-three will, in all likelihood, see Keith Earls, Rob Kearney and Jacob Stockdale play alongside one another with young star Jordan Larmour giving impetus as a replacement.

Adam Byrne has come into the squad after Andrew Conway picked up a knock against Exeter.

Looking to repeat their 2018 Grand Slam success, considering their strength and depth the Irish are looking very strong favourites to collect another Six Nations title in this Rugby World Cup year.

Related: Six Nations TV Coverage

Schmidt said of his squad; “It’s been great to watch the provincial teams doing so well in recent weeks. With another very competitive round of EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby) this weekend, the following Ireland squad for the first two matches of the Six Nations has been selected, knowing that late changes may be required, depending on how the matches go in the weekend. There have been a number of tight calls across almost every position.”

Ireland open their Six Nations account against England on February 2.

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