Payne back for Ireland

Date published: March 10 2016

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Jared Payne makes his return to the Ireland starting line-up in the outside centre position as Joe Schmidt names his team to take on Italy in Dublin

The Ireland coaching group have named the match day squad to take on Italy at the Aviva Stadium at lunchtime on Saturday. There are two changes in the backline from the team that started against England in Twickenham.

Rob Kearney is ruled out of the match and his place goes to Simon Zebo. The fit again Jared Payne returns to partner Robbie Henshaw in the centre with the latter reverting to inside centre having lined out at 13 against England. Jonathan Sexton will win his 60th cap on Saturday as he lines out alongside Conor Murray in the half backs.

Josh van der Flier will win his second cap on Saturday, following his debut against England, as he runs out at Aviva Stadium for the first time in an Ireland jersey. Ultan Dillane is on the bench and will hope to make his home bow to win his second cap.

Rory Best will become the seventh Irish player to hit a half-century in the Championship after Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Mike Gibson, John Hayes, Willie John McBride and Paul O'Connell.

Replacement hooker Sean Cronin is set to earn his 50th cap if he comes on from the bench on Saturday. Cronin made his debut against Fiji in 2009. He scored the first of his three tries for Ireland against Italy in the 2014 Six Nations.

Kieran Marmion and Fergus McFadden are also included in the replacements.

Ireland: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray,  8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Nathan White, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion,  22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden

Date: Saturday, 12 March
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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