It's rugby Christmas at last! After months of anticipation, the start of the 6 Nations has finally arrived.

In last year's tournament, Ireland finished third; a slight disappointment given they had won the two previous years. The way the fixtures fall, things are set up for a Grand Slam show down between Ireland and England on March 18th but both teams have a long long way to go before then.

For this first week, Joe's men must face off against a Scottish team with a point to prove, and they have to go into battle without main man Johnny Sexton. Paddy Jackson ably filled his shoes during the summer tour to South Africa, but it's the lack of experience on the bench that could be worrying. Rory Best once again captains the squad, with Tommy Bowe and Ian Keatley both making an unexpected returns to international rugby. 

Scotland are an exciting team, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour both speedy men that will create plenty of headaches for the Irish defence. They've had trouble converting their potential into results, but playing in front of a home crowd, they will be seriously tough opposition.

Kick-off 2.25pm

Irish team:

15. Rob Kearney 14. Keith Earls 13. Garry Ringrose 12. Robbie Henshaw 11. Simon Zebo 10. Paddy Jackson 9. Conor Murray 8. Jamie Heaslip 7. Sean O'Brien 6. CJ Stander 5. Devin Toner 4. Iain Henderson 3. Tadhg Furlong 2. Rory Best 1. Jack McGrath

16. Niall Scannell 17. Cian Helay 18. John Ryan 19. Ultan Dillane 20. Josh Van Der Flier 21. Kieran Marmion 22. Ian Keatley 23. Tommy Bowe

Scottish team:

15. Stuart Hogg 14. Sean Maitland 13. Huw Jones 12. Alex Dunbar 11. Tommy Seymour 10. Finn Russell 9. Greig Laidlaw 8. Josh Strauss 7. Hamish Watson 6. Ryan Wilson 5. Jonny Grey 4. Richie Grey 3. Zander Fargerson 2. Fraser Brown 1. Allan Dell

16. Ross Ford 17. Gordon Reid 18. Simon Berghan 19. Tim Swinson 20. John Barcley 21. Ali Price 22. Duncan Weir 23. Mark Bennett


Romain Poite