Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton will wear the Ireland No10 shirt ahead of Munster’s Ronan O’Gara for this Saturday’s Six Nations trip to Twickenham.
Sexton missed Ireland’s opening fixtures of the 2010 tournament due to injury but the youngster has returned to the side following a hugely impressive Magners League display last weekend.
The 24-year-old starred for the Dubliners as they beat the Scarlets at the RDS last Saturday and Ireland coach Declan Kidney has rewarded his form with an immediate recall.
The Round 3 encounter with England will be Sexton’s first Six Nations start after he made his international debut against Fiji in the autumn series just three months ago.
Sexton is one of four changes to the Ireland team that lost to France last time out, with Rory Best taking over from the suspended Jerry Flannery at hooker, Donncha O’Callaghan replacing Leo Cullen in the second row and Geordan Murphy coming in for the injured Rob Kearney at full back.
Munster’s John Hayes will win his 100th Ireland cap in a starting XV that features 14 Magners League Players.
Hayes’ Munster colleague Tony Buckley comes on to the replacements bench instead of Ulster’s Tom Court, while Paddy Wallace drops out of the 22 all together following O’Gara’s demotion to the bench.
Andrew Trimble is included among the replacements after starting against Italy on the opening weekend of action but missing out entirely against France.
There are eight players apiece from Leinster and Munster in the matchday 22, three from Ulster and one each from Connacht, the Ospreys and Leicester Tigers.
Ireland will face an England squad that is unchanged from their narrow victory over Italy in Round 2.
Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster, captain), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Tomas O’Leary (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), John Hayes (Munster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), David Wallace (Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Connacht), Tony Buckley (Munster), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster)