DUBLIN (Reuters) - New Zealand-born winger James Lowe will make his Six Nations debut in Ireland's opener in Wales while Tadhg Beirne got the nod ahead of Iain Henderson at second row in an experienced side named by coach Andy Farrell on Friday.
Ireland are missing winger Jacob Stockdale and the impressive young backrow Caelan Doris for the trip to Cardiff but otherwise have a clean bill of health, with British & Irish Lions prop Tadhg Furlong returning to the bench after almost a year out through injury.
"It's a strong side, a strong 23 and one that's raring to go. We like what we've seen from all of the squad over the last 10 days," Farrell told a news conference.
Lowe, who scored a try on his debut when the sides last met in Ireland's 32-9 Autumn Nations Cup win in November, beat Leinster team mate Jordan Larmour to a spot on the wing with the increasingly assured Hugo Keenan starting at fullback.
Josh van der Flier takes the spot likely earmarked for Doris in the backrow beside the Munster pair of CJ Stander and Peter O'Mahony, with Leinster team mate Will Connors among the replacements.
Both Ireland and Wales had a disappointing championship last year. The Welsh followed 2019's Grand Slam with just one win while Farrell's men finished third but could not really get close to England or France.
"The slate's going to be wiped clean at the start of a competition and I suppose this is a huge game for both teams. We know it's going to be a war of attrition," Farrell said.
Ireland team to face Wales
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster) 6 caps
14. Keith Earls (Munster) 88 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster) 30 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster) 47 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 2 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (C) (Leinster) 95 caps
9. Conor Murray (Munster) 87 caps
1. Cian Healy (Leinster) 104 caps
2. Rob Herring (Ulster) 16 caps
3. Andrew Porter (Leinster) 32 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 17 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster) 32 caps
6. Peter O'Mahony (Munster) 73 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster) 28 caps
8. CJ Stander (Munster) 46 caps
16. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster) 6 caps
17. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster) 39 caps
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster) 44 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster) 58 caps
20. Will Connors (Leinster) 5 caps
21. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 5 caps
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 3 caps
23. Jordan Larmour (Leinster) 24 caps
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)