By Jonathan Davies

2015 - the year of Rugby in the UK

Paul O'Connell edges closer to his 100th cap for his country as Ireland begin the defence of their Six Nations title against Italy on Saturday.

Captain O'Connell is partnered in the second-row by Devin Toner. The front-row is made up of Jack McGrath, Rory Best and Mike Ross.

The back-row consists of Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Jordi Murphy with Conor Murray and Ian Keatley filling the half-back slots.

Jared Payne fills the famous Irish '13' jersey vacated by the retired Brian O'Driscoll.

Starting XV

Backs: Rob Kearney (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Simon Zebo (Munster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Conor Murray (Munster).

Forwards: Jack McGrath (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (captain, Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster).

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin (Leinster), James Cronin (Munster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Isaac Boss (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Felix Jones (Munster).

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness