Andy Farrell says Mack Hansen is fully deserving of his Ireland debut, as the Connacht wing prepares to step up to test rugby.

The 23-year-old starts on the left wing for Saturday's Guinness Six Nations opener against Wales at the Aviva Stadium (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player), just seven months after arriving in Galway from Austrlia.

The Canberra native - who is Irish qualified by his Cork-born mother - has scored six tries in a breakthrough season at the Sportsground.

And, having spent a week in Irish camp last November, Hansen was brought back into the squad for the Six Nations camp in Portugal where he has impressed the head coach.

"He's a smart rugby player, he makes things happen, he knows how to get himself involved in the game," Farrell said.

"He's got great feel, he’s got a good skillset across the board.

"It’s tough when you come into international camps but the ones that do best and hit the ground running and end up getting a good few caps straight away are the guys that are able to be able to pick things up straight away and Mack has certainly done that."

Farrell confirmed this afternoon that both Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw were not considered for selection due to injury.

Earls will be sent for a scan on a hamstring injury he picked up yesterday, while Henshaw is now recovered from an abductor strain, and will be available against France next week.

"Robbie had a little bit of a niggle on an adductor towards the end of last week, a good few days of rehab has got him back up to speed again.

"He missed a couple of sessions there and that allowed the other three guys to get through his work. Rob is fine but the rehab has done him good so Bundee (Aki) and Ringer (Ringrose) get to start," Farrell added.

Iain Henderson also looks set to be fit for the trip to Paris.

The Ulster captain (above) was left out of the matchday 23 this week having only recently returned from an ankle injury, and while the 29-year-old is now training fully, Farrell says he was "just short" of the match sharpness needed.

"He is back training fully. We are topping him up every day.

"He is going great guns and he is certainly going to be fit for the start of next week."

On the bench, Joey Carbery pipped Jack Carty to the 22 jersey for the opener, despite being out of action since mid-December with a fractured elbow.

Farrell says the Munster man's versatility and recent experience in camp saw him edge out the in-form Connacht captain.

"Joey knows how we operate because he has been in camp quite a bit through the summer and the autumn.

"Then you look at what you need off the bench and he covers quite a few positions there and that all adds to the picture.

"I know that Joey hasn't played at all really since the injury but when do you get these people back up to speed. He is fit. The pressure that we put on ourselves at training he has excelled at so he is ready to go."

Ireland come into the game as heavy favourites, with Wales having to deal without several hundred caps worth of experience, among them Alun-Wyn Jones and Ken Owens.

However, Wayne Pivac has still been able to select six British and Irish Lions in his starting XV.

"It's all irrelevant to us," Farrell said, when asked about being favourites.

"Wales are a fantastic side, look at the history, it tells it all.

"It's all about us, our preparation and our performance. We want to keep pushing the boundary as far as that's concerned.

"That's what we've been concentrating on, let's see if we can perform on Saturday."

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Follow all of Ireland's Six Nations games via our live blogs on and on the RTÉ News App or listen to live radio coverage on RTÉ Radio 1. Watch live TV coverage of Ireland v Wales (5 February, 2.15pm) and England v Ireland (12 March, 4.45pm) on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player.