Kearney will take his place at full-back ahead of Jordan Larmour, who is on the bench, and is joined by Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale in the back three.
Meanwhile, Rory Best will lead the team out on his 64th and final Six Nations appearance with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong packing down alongside him in the front-row. Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan are partnered in the second-row with Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and CJ Stander named in the back-row.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are named in the pivot positions with Garry Ringrose partnering Bundee Aki for a seventh occasion.
The replacements are Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty and Larmour.
[playbuzz-item item=”3cf3e0d0-8353-42c7-905b-e5570c0ee394″ info=”false” shares=”false” wp-pb-id=”926209″]
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Jordan Larmour
Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Principality Stadium
Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)