Should This Be Ireland’s Starting XV For Their Six Nations Opener?

Paul O'Connell, Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe 22/9/2014

We select our Ireland starting XV for next weeks Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome…

15.Rob Kearney

At the moment it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Kearney starting at full back for Ireland barring any major injuries.

14.Tommy Bowe

Much like with Kearney, Bowe looks a sure bet for a spot on the wing such is his try scoring form for Ireland.

13.Luke Fitzgerald

With Fitzgerald finding form in an improving Leinster side he looks like Ireland’s best shot in the outside centre berth.

12.Robbie Henshaw

Henshaw impressed in the 12 shirt for Ireland during the Autumn Internationals and deserves another chance in the midfield.

11.Simon Zebo

Zebo’s form has been a little mixed this season, however a fine performance against Sale last weekend means he should be given an opportunity.

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10.Ian Madigan

With Johnny Sexton looking like he could be out injured, Madigan looks to be his natural successor in the number 10 shirt.

9.Conor Murray

Murray has developed into one of the very best scrum halves in the world over the last 12 months so should start.

8.Jamie Heaslip

Heaslip looks to be future captain material for Ireland and is one of their key ball carrying players, however he offers a lot more as well.

7.Sean O’Brien

There’s an argument for Jordi Alba here, however if O’Brien proves his fitness in the Wolfhounds test then he should start.

6.Peter O’Mahony

Since being given a chance through injuries, O’Mahony has grabbed the Irish number six shirt with both hands and won’t let go easily.

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5.Paul O’Connell

As captain of Ireland O’Connell is a sure fire starter under Joe Schmidt, and deservedly so such has been his inspirational form.

4.Devin Toner

Toner and O’Connell have proven to be a more than effective combination in the Irish second row over the years.

3.Mike Ross

Ross may not have had the game time at Leinster he would have liked recently, however he is still Ireland’s best tighthead.

2.Rory Best

Best has proven to be a key player for Ireland over the last few years and will play a key role during the Six Nations.

1.Jack McGrath

With Cian Healy likely to miss the game through injury McGrath looks likely to once again step in at loosehead for Ireland.

Agree with our selections?

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