Autumn International: Ireland take on Samoa at the Aviva Stadium
Last Updated: 09/11/13 5:18pm
Paddy Jackson: Will start at fly-half for Ireland in place of the injured Jonathan Sexton
Ireland open their Autumn International campaign at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday with new coach Joe Schmidt in charge for the first time.
Ulster's Paddy Jackson will start at fly-half for Ireland against Samoa - but there is no place for Jonathan Sexton because of a hip problem.
Racing Metro No 10 Sexton - who missed a midweek training session after aggravating the hip injury whilst goal-kicking - has been left out of the squad entirely.
Paul O'Connell, who was named Ireland's new captain on Tuesday, has not fully recovered from an ankle injury and starts on the bench alongside Leinster back-three Dave Kearney who will win his first cap if he takes to the field.
With O'Connell unable to start the match, No 8 Jamie Heaslip will lead the team out at Lansdowne Road, while veteran pair Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy start in the centres.
Leinster front-rower Jack McGrath will win his first cap at loosehead prop against the Samoans.
Schmidt promoted McGrath into his full squad for this autumn series last month and has also named versatile Leinster back-three Dave Kearney on the bench, who will win his first cap if he takes the field.
Kearney could even line up alongside brother and starting full-back Rob, if he comes on at wing.
Northampton scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i captains Samoa in the absence of France-based centre Gavin Williams.
Indeed, the Samoans have a number of injury problems with prop Census Johnston, Harlequins flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu, Worcester wing David Lemi, Perpignan lock Daniel Leo and full-back and place-kicker James So'oialo all missing for the Pacific Islanders.
So'oialo played a central role in the 27-17 victory over Scotland in Durban during the summer and recently left Irish province Connacht to return to New Zealand.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that both sides will observe a minute's silence for former Samoa captain Peter Fatiafola who died on Tuesday at the age of 54.
Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, F McFadden; P Jackson, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; M McCarthy, D Toner; P O'Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, D Fitzpatrick, P O'Connell, S O'Brien, E Reddan, I Madigan, D Kearney.
Samoa: Faatoina Autagavaia; Alapat Leiua, George Pisi, Johnny Leota, Brando Vaalu; Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i (capt); Sakaria Taulafo, Ole Avei, Logovi'i Mulipola; Faatiga Lemalu, Teofilo Paulo; Ofisa Treviranus, Jack Lam, Taiasina Tuifua.
Replacements: Tii Paulo, Viliamu Afatia, James Johnston, Joe Tekori, Alafoti Faosiliva, Jeremy Su'a, Isaia Tuifua, Fautua Otto.
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