Ireland hand Six Nations debuts to Aki, Ryan and Stockdale

Updated: 

Bundee Aki, James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale will make their Six Nations debut in an otherwise experienced Ireland side to face France on Saturday.

Aki starred on his Ireland bow against South Africa in November and the New Zealand-born centre will start alongside Robbie Henshaw at Stade de France in the absence of the injured Garry Ringrose.

Lock Ryan will make only his second international start, so his Leinster team-mate Devin Toner has to settle for a place on the bench.

Stockdale will get his first taste of the Six Nations after being named on the wing by Joe Schmidt for Ireland's opening game of the tournament in Paris.

Flanker Josh van der Flier comes in for the absent Sean O'Brien, not yet fit after undergoing hip surgery. 

 

Ireland XV: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Fergus McFadden.