Fit-again Stuart McCloskey one of five Ulster players in starting line-up to face Fiji on Saturday

Stuart McCloskey Ireland Training 081122Credit: Inpho
Stuart McCloskey has been declared fit to start against Fiji as one of five Ulster players in the starting fifteen Credit: Inpho

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey has been declared fit enough to start against Fiji for Saturday's Autumn Nation Series clash.

McCloskey is one of five Ulster players to make the starting fifteen, although provincial captain Iain Henderson misses out on the matchday twenty-three.

Lock Kieran Treadwell and back rower Nick Timoney come into the main Ireland team after impressing for the Irish second-string sides that played the Maori All Blacks twice in the summer.

Wing Robert Baloucoune keeps his place on the wing after an assured outing against South Africa last week, and is joined by fellow Ulsterman Rob Herring in the first XV.

Ulster tighthead prop Tom-Toole also makes the bench, as part of a strong showing for the Northern province in the matchday squad.

Most relieved by their selection will be McCloskey, who was forced off with an arm injury 27 minutes into an impressive start against the world-champion Springboks last weekend.

Subsequent assessment showed the injury wasn't as serious as first feared, and the Bangor native has been cleared to start again.

Elsewhere in the team, Tadhg Furlong will captain his country for the first team at tighthead, and is joined in the front row by Ireland debutant Jeremy Loughman.

Tadhg Beirne packs down in the second row alongside Treadwell, and Nick Timoney is joined the back row by Caelan Doris at 6 and Jack Conan.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Joey Carbery are the halfbacks, and Robbie Henshaw will stand at 13 outside McCloskey.

Baloucoune is joined in the back three by Mack Hansen and Jimmy O'Brien, who makes his full Ireland debut.

There is an exciting amount of youth on the bench, with Connacht Lock Cian Prendergast and Munster flyhalf Jack Crowley in line to gain their first caps for Ireland.

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