Ireland Pick Wing Lowe For Nations Cup Opener Vs Wales
DUBLIN: New Zealand-born Leinster wing James Lowe has been picked by Ireland at the earliest opportunity for its Autumn Nations Cup opener against Wales at Lansdowne Road on Friday.
Lowe qualified for Ireland on three-year residency and trained with the squad while it completed the Six Nations last month. Hes starting in jersey No. 11.
“He brings an extra dimension to how we want to play, coach Andy Farrell said of Lowe on Tuesday.
Ireland has 10 changes, three positional, from the side which was bidding for the Six Nations crown against France in Paris but lost 35-27 on Oct. 31. Ireland finished third in the standings.
Scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park and hooker Ronan Kelleher will make their first test starts, and Ulster flyhalf Billy Burns could make his debut from the reserves.
Iain Henderson returns from suspension to lock with James Ryan, and Caelan Doris has moved from flanker to No. 8, with back row support from the recalled Josh van der Flier and Peter OMahony.
Kelleher is the other change in the pack in an all-Leinster front row.
Gibson-Park, another New Zealander, has swapped off the bench with Conor Murray to play in the halves with Leinster clubmate Jonathan Sexton.
Bundee Aki was replaced in the centers by Robbie Henshaw, who has moved in one spot to make way for Chris Farrells first appearance since the Rugby World Cup a year ago.
Andrew Conway made way for Lowe, and the attempt to turn winger Jacob Stockdale into a fullback continues after his poor performance against France.
“There’s a few things he needed to put right from his last game, but he’s an important player for us, Farrell said.
Ireland: Jacob Stockdale, Hugo Keenan, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Jonathan Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter OMahony, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy. Reserves: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Will Connors, Conor Murray, Billy Burns, Keith Earls.
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