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Rees-Zammit, Lowe to make Six Nations debuts in Wales vs Ireland clash

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ouis Rees-Zammit will make his maiden Six Nations appearance when Wales host Ireland in their competition opener this weekend.

Head coach Wayne Pivac hands the experienced George North a 99th senior international cap alongside Johnny Williams in the centres, with Dan Lydiate also returning on the blindside following a two-year absence from Wales duty.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones – the most-capped player in the history of international rugby union – is fit to take his usual place in the second row after a knee injury.

Lock Adam Beard, hooker Ken Owens and scrum-half Tomos Williams also return, though full-back Liam Williams is suspended.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell also hands a Six Nations debut to an exciting winger in the form of Leinster’s New Zealand-born flyer James Lowe.

As expected, CJ Stander gets the nod at no8 with Caelan Doris out injured, Tadhg Beirne partners James Ryan in the second row and Josh van der Flier earns a start at openside flanker.

Prop Cian Healy makes his 50th Six Nations appearance in the front row, with Tadhg Furlong back on the bench after a year out with a calf injury.

Influential skipper Johnny Sexton is cleared to start after training fully in the aftermath of a hamstring problem.

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