Conor Murray picked by Farrell for Ireland Six Nations opener


Dublin (AFP)

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray was Tuesday selected ahead of John Cooney for the Six Nations opener against Scotland, while Caelan Doris will make his international debut.

The choice between the experience of Murray and the outstanding form of Cooney was the biggest call facing new head coach Andy Farrell.

Farrell has opted to show faith in 78-cap Munster player Murray, with 29-year-old Cooney among the replacements, despite a series of fine displays for Ulster.

Uncapped Doris, a former Ireland Under-20s captain, has been rewarded with a start at number 8.

His Leinster team-mate Ronan Kelleher, who has not played since fracturing a hand on December 7, is named among the replacements, with Rob Herring starting at hooker in place of retired former captain Rory Best.

New skipper Johnny Sexton will lead Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, starting at fly-half after overcoming a knee problem suffered in December.

Ireland side to face Scotland (15-1)

Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton (capt), Conor Murray, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rob Herring, Cian Healy

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Peter O'Mahony, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Robbie Henshaw