EADESTOWN’S Tadhg Beirne (Munster) takes his place in the second row for Ireland’s opening Autumn Test against Japan at Aviva Stadium on Saturday (KO 1pm) as his Munster team mate, Athy’s Joey Carbery takes his place on the bench for the game. Leinster Rugby captain Johnny Sexton is set to make his 100th appearance for Ireland in the game.
Two other Leinster players mark significant milestones as Tadhg Furlong makes his 50th appearance in green while Dan Sheehan is set to make his debut from the bench.
Sexton captains and he is joined at half-back by Jamison Gibson-Park with Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose reunited in the centre for the first time since the rescheduled Six Nations fixture against Italy in October 2020.
Hugo Keenan starts at full-back in his 14th consecutive game for Ireland and is supported in the backfield by Andrew Conway and James Lowe.
Andrew Porter makes his first international start at loose head in a front row containing Rónan Kelleher and Furlong who wins his 50th cap. James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne are named at lock and the Leinster trio of Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan make up the back row.
As well as Carbery the other replacements named for Saturday’s game are uncapped hooker Dan Sheehan as well as the experienced Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, and Keith Earls.
Donadea’s Will Connors is still recovering from a knee injury.
Ireland team to play Japan:
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 10 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps
16. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)*
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps
* denotes uncapped player