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Ireland head-coach Andy Farrell has backed James Lowe to have an impact on his Six Nations debut this Sunday. 

The New Zealand-native hasn't played a match since suffering a groin injury in Ireland's loss at England in the Autumn Nations Cup.

But Farrell says the Leinster winger has shown enough at their training camp to merit a start at the Principality Stadium this weekend.

"He's a great player, who is right for this game. When you select a side, first and foremost you are thinking what’s right for the side.

"He’s been in great form in training. He’s been seamless in getting back into action.

"Jordan Larmour has not played much game time and Andrew Conway is in the same boat but they are all fit and raring to go and up to speed.

“We asked the boys to make sure at the end of the autumn that come the Six Nations they were fit and healthy and raring to go to perform at the level of what is needed to be at their best for the Six Nations.

"We like what we have seen from all of the squad really over the last ten days.”

Hugo Keenan has been given the nod to start at full-back ahead of Jordan Larmour with Keith Earls on the other wing.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are paired in midfield with fit-again captain Johnny Sexton alongside Conor Murray in the half-backs.

Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter comprise the front-row with Tadhg Beirne's strong form for Munster rewarded by a start in the second-row alongside James Ryan.

CJ Stander's been picked at number-eight with Peter O'Mahony and Josh van der Flier the flankers.

Farrell thinks van der Flier adds the right balance in the back-row.

"Josh was on the bench a couple of times in the autumn and came on and made some magnificent impacts.

"He really punches on to the ball well but his all-round game is pretty strong and we felt he was the one to go with."

JOHN HARTSON | Ireland & Wales’ relationship status | Celtic cousins or bitter rivals?


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