Keatley starts for Ireland

Date published: February 5 2015

Munster fly-half Ian Keatley has been handed a golden opportunity in Rome on Saturday as he starts for Ireland against Italy in their Six Nations opener.

Conor Murray and Keatley will form the half-back partnership while Robbie Henshaw will line out at inside centre alongside Jared Payne who is at 13.

The back-three sees Rob Kearney flanked by Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo.

Paul O’Connell leads the side on his 97th cap for his country and is partnered by Devin Toner. The front-row is made up of Jack McGrath, Rory Best and Mike Ross.

The back-row consists of Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and Jordi Murphy at number eight.

Among the replacements are Sean Cronin, James Cronin, Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Tommy O’Donnell, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan and Felix Jones.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 James Cronin, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Tommy O’Donnell, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones.

Date: Saturday, February 7
Kick-off: 15:30 local (14:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Referee: Pascal Gauz