Leinster lock James Ryan and Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale have been named in the Ireland team to face France on Saturday.

The two 21-year-olds, who will each win their fifth caps, impressed Joe Schmidt over the summer and autumn games and will start their first NatWest Six Nations matches in Paris.

As expected, Rob Kearney takes his place at full-back and Keith Earls starts on the right wing. Stockdale, who has scored four tries from his four appearances, stays on the left flank.

Leinster’s Robbie Henshaw hooks up with former Connacht team-mate Bundee Aki, also a Six Nations debutant, in the centre, while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray are the half-backs.

Injuries to Sean O’Brien, Rhys Ruddock and Jamie Heaslip opened up a back-row vacancy and Leinster’s Josh van der Flier got the nod to join Munster duo Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander, who starts at number 8.

Ryan partners Iain Henderson in the second row as the head coach sticks with the combination that started against Argentina in the last of the November Tests.

"We want to be able to keep building in that position, James is one of the young guys we want to give an opportunity to, we’re really looking forward to what he can deliver on Saturday," said Schmidt.

Hooker Rory Best captains the side with Tadhg Furlong at tighthead, while Cian Healy edged the loosehead battle with Jack McGrath.

Schmidt favourite Fergus McFadden returns to the squad ahead of Andrew Conway, who is suffering from a slight knee injury.

Fit-again Joey Carbery replaces Ian Keatley as cover for Sexton and Kearney, while Luke McGrath is chosen ahead of Kieran Marmion for replacement scrum-half.

Sean Cronin’s fine form sees him return to the bench. John Ryan, McGrath, Devin Toner and Dan Leavy are the other forward replacements.

The in-form Jordan Larmour fails to make the squad but Schmidt said the young full-back had impressed him and might make an appearance later in the Championship.

"He was very close to making the replacements bench, it’s a very competitive area for us.

"We’ve gone for youth and experience. Jordan has put his hand up and impressed everyone, he’s learning quite a bit in the environment.

"It will be just about timing that right, it may well be next week."

Ireland's last trip to Paris ended in an agonising 10-9 defeat in 2016 but Schmidt believes is difficult know how much relevance that game has, disappointment aside.

"[We’ve talked about] our last visit, the frustration we felt after that match," he said.

"About a third of each team are the same as the starting 15, even in two years those changes paint a different picture and the picture is very hard to see with any clarity with a new coaching team and new team."

Earlier today, new France coach Jacques Brunel named teenager Matthieu Jalibert to start at out-half in the his team.

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong; James Ryan, Iain Henderson; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander. 

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Fergus McFadden. 

France: Geoffrey Palis; Teddy Thomas, Remi Lamerat, Henry Chavancy, Virimi Vakatawa, Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Machenaud; Kevin Gourdon, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Arthur Iturria, Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (cap), Jefferson Poirot.

Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Dany Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Marco Tauleigne, Antoine Dupont, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall.

Follow our live blog of France v Ireland (4.45pm kick-off) on RTÉ Online and the RTÉ News Now App, or listen to commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.