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Billy Burns to start for Ireland against Georgia

Billy Burns to start for Ireland against Georgia
© Reuters
Billy Burns' selection is one of nine changes to head coach Andy Farrell's starting XV.

Ireland will hand a full debut to fly-half Billy Burns as part of an experimental line-up for Sunday's Autumn Nations Cup clash with Georgia.

Burns, who came off the bench in the win over Wales and subsequent defeat to England, is among nine changes to head coach Andy Farrell's starting XV.

The former England Under-20 international replaces Ross Byrne and will line up behind experienced scrum-half Conor Murray, who has been recalled following two consecutive appearances from the bench.

Centre Stuart McCloskey will make his first international appearance in two years to win his fourth cap, while Australia-born prop Finlay Bealham has been handed a rare opportunity to impress from the start.

The continued absence of injured captain Johnny Sexton means James Ryan will lead the side for the second successive match.

Lock Iain Henderson will start for his country for the first time since early February following suspension and a medical problem, joining stand-in skipper Ryan in the second row.

Jacob Stockdale returns from a calf problem at full-back, with Hugo Keenan moving out to the right wing, and Keith Earls switching to the left flank.

Flankers Tadhg Beirne and Will Connors will also start, meaning CJ Stander reverts to number eight in place of the rested Caelan Doris.

Hooker Rob Herring returns to the front row, in between loosehead Bealham and Andrew Porter, who keeps his tighthead spot.

Centre Chris Farrell, who will be joined in midfield by McCloskey, is the other man to hold on to his place following the loss to Eddie Jones' World Cup finalists.

Uncapped Munster centre Shane Daly should make his debut as a replacement. He is joined on the bench by Dave Heffernan, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Peter O'Mahony, Kieran Marmion and fly-half Byrne.


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