Ireland team versus Italy

Eddie O’Sullivan has kept faith with the World Cup players in the selection for Irelands Six Nations opener against Italy at Croke Park. No fewer than 11 players who started against Argentina in their final pool game are retained, with Ulster’s Rory Best claiming the vacant hooking role.

The full Ireland selection is:

G Dempsey; A Trimble, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, G Murphy; R O’Gara, E Reddan; M Horan, R Best, J Hayes, D O’Callaghan, M O’Kelly, S Easterby, D Wallace, D Leamy.
Replacements: B Jackman, T Buckley, M O’Driscoll, J Heaslip, P Stringer, P Wallace, R Kearney.