Joe Schmidt names Ireland side to face Scotland – O’Driscoll set to become record caps holder

Joe Schmidt has named his first Irish Six Nations side today, with twelve of his old Leinster charges included in the 23.

Brothers Rob and David Kearney team up at full back and right wing respectively, with Rob set to win his 50th cap against Scotland on Sunday.

Andrew Trimble comes in on the left wing ahead of Luke Fitzgerald, and with Simon Zebo, Craig Gilroy, and Tommy Bowe all absent.

Brian O’Driscoll starts in the centres, he will win his 129th cap in what is set to be his final Six Nations campaign, in winning his 129th cap he will also become Ireland most capped player. Should he make a further three appearances he will have the most appearances in 5/6 Nations history, and with four victories he will also hold the record for the number of 5/6 Nations victories.

Ulster’s Luke Marshall, who wins a place in the side ahead of O’Driscoll’s Leinster colleague Gordon D’Arcy, partners him at inside centre. D’Arcy has been suffering from a stomach bug all week, and Joe Schmidt revealed that that was probably what made the difference in selection, adding that he expects the two to fight it out for that position throughout the Championships.

Marshall is one of four Ulstermen in the starting XV, Trimble is another, his colleague Chris Henry steps in at flanker in place of the injured Sean O’Brien, while Rory Best starts at hooker.

Either side of Best are the two Leinster props, Cian Healy and Mike Ross, while it is an all Leinster front row on the bench, with Sean Cronin covering hooker and Jack McGrath and Martin Moore the replacement props. Moore will be making his debut if he gets some time on the pitch.

Paul O’Connell captains the side from the second row; he will be joined by Leinster’s giant lock, Devon Toner, while Ulster’s Dan Tuohy is on the bench.

At half back the successful British and Irish Lions duo of Connor Murray and Jonny Sexton team up, Sexton has been struggling a bit in the Top 14 with Racing Metro but Schmidt will be hoping that he can once again eke the best from his former Leinster stand off. Supporting them from the bench will be Isaac Boss, and Ulster’s in form stand off, Paddy Jackson. Fergus McFadden will cover the rest of the backline.

Joining Ulster’s Chris Henry in the back row are Munster’s captain, Peter O’Mahony, and Leinster number 8 Jamie Heaslip, with Tommy O’Donnell ready to make an impact from the bench.

What do you think of the Ireland XV? Will they beat Scotland? Let us know what you think via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV

To see the Scotland XV please follow this link – Scotland XV v Ireland.

Ireland XV v Scotland, Sunday 15.00 Kick Off:

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster)  14. David Kearney (Leinster)  13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)  12. Luke Marshall (Ulster)  11. Andrew Trimble (Ulster)  10. Jonny Sexton (Racing Metro 92)  9. Connor Murray (Munster);  1. Cian Healy (Leinster) 2. Rory Best (Ulster) 3. Mike Ross (Leinster)  4. Devon Toner (Leinster)  5. Paul O’Connell (Munster, captain)  6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster) 7. Chris Henry (Ulster)  8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin (Leinster) 17. Jack McGrath (Leinster)  18. Martin Moore (Leinster) 19. Dan Tuohy (Ulster)  20. Tommy O’Donnell (Munster)  21. Isaac Boss (Leinster)  22. Paddy Jackson (Ulster)  23. Fergus McFadden (Leinster).

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