Trinity Sport student athlete Ryan Baird is in line for his first international cap with the Irish Senior Rugby team against Italy in Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon (27th February). The Ireland coaching group have made seven changes to the side that started against France in round two of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship. Baird is one of two uncapped players in the replacements named on the bench and are in line to make their Test debuts.

The 21-year-old Computer Science and Business student has previously represented Ireland at under-18 schools and under-19 level, Baird also played a key role in Ireland’s under-20’s in February 2019 when they won a Six Nations Grand Slam. Following an outstanding breakthrough campaign with Leinster Rugby last year, Baird was nominated for the Rugby Players Ireland ‘Young Player of the Year’ Award 2020.

Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side and partners Jamison Gibson Park in the halfbacks. This weekend has come too soon for Conor Murray who is continuing his hamstring rehab. Robbie Henshaw, who earns his 50th cap for Ireland, will again partner Garry Ringrose in the midfield. Hugo Keenan retains the No.15 jersey with James Lowe on the left wing and Jordan Larmour coming in on the right-hand side.

A new front row combination of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Tadgh Furlong is set to start. James Ryan returns to the second row to partner Iain Henderson. Tadgh Beirne shifts to the backrow filling the blindside role with Will Connors at openside and CJ Stander at No.8. The replacements for the weekend are Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Jack Conan, Billy Burns, Keith Earls and the uncapped duo of Ryan Baird and Casey.

The Six Nations Championship match against Italy will take place on Saturday, 27th February at Stadio Olimpico, kick off from 2:15pm.

Ireland Squad Guinness Six Nations Championship 2021 Ireland Vs Italy


15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 7 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
18. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps