Ireland's back-row will bring "huge physicality"

Newstalk Breakfast's Alan Quinlan looks ahead to Ireland's Six Nations opener with Scotland

Ireland's back-row will bring "huge physicality"

Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip supported by CJ Stander and Sean O’Brien Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Munster's CJ Stander joins the Leinster duo of Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip in Ireland's back-row for the Six Nations opener against Scotland.

It will be only the third time the trio have started together for Ireland, but head coach Joe Schmidt has yet to see the best out of the trio. Last year, O'Brien lasted around 20 minutes against France in the Six Nations, while Stander was a first-half casualty in the Autumn international against New Zealand in Dublin.

Newstalk Breakfast's Alan Quinlan is looking forward to the trio working together against a physical Scottish pack.

"You're expecting huge physicality and ball-carrying ability", Quinlan revealed. "Stander has been just incredible in the last couple of seasons with Munster, and since he's played with Ireland."

"O'Brien, on song is World class. There's no doubt about it. They are unbelievably powerful guys, Stander and O'Brien, so they will give great options to carry the ball."

"Jamie Heaslip is as consistent as ever, and I think he has great leadership there in that back-row. There's a great balance to it."

"What I worry about with Sean O'Brien is the match fitness, but he's proved with Joe Schmidt that he's up and running, and ready to go. He hasn't played matches in the last few weeks"

"People are excited by the fact of Stander and O'Brien playing together... Hopefully they can can have a big impact against a very competitive Scottish back row.

Ireland's back-row options are as strong as ever. Josh van der Flier starts the game from the bench, while Peter O'Mahony is due to return from injury later in the tournament.