Paul O’Connell has been named as Ireland captain.  Vice-captain Jamie Heaslip will lead Ireland in the opening Guinness Series fixture against Samoa at the Aviva Stadium this coming Saturday.

Leinster loose-head prop Jack McGrath will earn his first senior cap against the powerful Samoans while Dave Kearney could also earn a first cap for Ireland as he starts on the bench.

There are six 2013 British and Irish Lions in the starting XV; Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip and Rory Best and a further three Lions tourists Cian Healy, Paul O’Connell and Sean O’Brien named among the replacements.

Highlights from today’s press conference can be viewed on IrishRugbyTV.

IRELAND Team & Replacements v Samoa, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Guinness Series,
Saturday, November 9th, kick-off 17.45 GMT

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 46
14. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 51
13. Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 125
12. Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 73
11. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 19
10. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 4
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 19
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 57
7. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 8
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 16
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 7
4. Mike McCarthy (Leinster) 12
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 31
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 67
1. Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster)*

REPLACEMENTS
16. Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 27
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 39
18. Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster) 5
19. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 85
20. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 27
21. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 50
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 4
23. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)*

* Denotes uncapped player

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