Andy Farrell will name his first Ireland team this afternoon from the glamorous surrounds of The Campus, Quinta da Lago in Portugal.

In a move away from his predecessor's modus operandi, the incoming boss will announce his squad fully 48 hours before he is duty-bound to do so by Six Nations rules (or laws if you get het up about that type of thing).

Of the 15 that started the defeat to New Zealand in October just two, Rory Best (retired), Rob Kearney (omitted) are not in the mix.

After a dismal 2019 there could be a temptation to cull hard but that’s not how it works in practice.

"It's difficult for Andy to be experimental with his squad," Brian O’Driscoll told RTÉ Sport.

"That said, he will still have an opportunity to bring in some new blood. I think you'd be foolish to think he's got to go with the old guard because the tried and tested over the last year hasn't properly worked."

The musings of the former Ireland skipper  would suggest that Farrell won’t be too bold with his selection.

The loudest call is for Ulster scrum-half John Cooney to start ahead of Conor Murray.

The rationale being that the combined form of the Dubliner alongside the failure of the Munster man to replicate his erstwhile high standards is enough to force the change.

Since making his debut in 2011 Murray has never really had to fight for the starting shirt. 

Understudies Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath and latterly Cooney have been precisely that, understudies, learning off their lines with the understanding that only injury would necessitate their presence when the curtain came up.

Like Murray, O’Driscoll went through practically all of his career – 133 Ireland caps and four Lions tours, without a peer, without that in-house competition for his place.

"I think it's a self-motivation," says O’Driscoll when asked how to maintain high standards when you know you are going to start. 

"You always feel you're not undroppable, there were times, probably more so with Leinster that I felt as though there was scope for somebody else coming in.

"Particularly when Eoin O'Malley came in in 2012 when I was coming back from injury. I wasn't sure whether my immediate form would be good enough to get straight back into the team.

"That sharpens your focus but I think you've got high standards anyway.

"The thoughts of dipping below them disappoints you more than anybody else.

"Conor, comparatively to where he has been in the last seven or eight years prior to last year, those standards have been significantly higher than this last year but we're starting to see signs…of his re-emergence.

"Getting that beat back into his game and genuinely, the intangible of that experience and that know-how are very important to Six Nations rugby."

The full-back slot vacated by Kearney comes down to Will Addison, who just missed out on Japan, and Jordan Larmour, said to be nursing an ankle complaint.

Garry Ringrose is playing as well as he ever has and will start in the centre, most probably alongside Robbie Henshaw, with new captain Johnny Sexton directing from out-half.

The wings are a more complicated issue with the incumbents, Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls, two who could probably do with a gentle reminder that nothing should be taken for granted. 

If Andrew Conway (above) came in for either man it would be no more than he deserves.

In the event that Addison was preferred at full-back and Larmour placed on the wing it could serve the dual purpose of rewarding form and turning up the heat in the battle for those positions.

Minus Best and his experience, Farrell could opt to stick with the front row pillars of Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

Rob Herring is in pole position to take over at hooker, with Ronan Kelleher a possible debutant off the bench.

For the foreseeable future the second row is James Ryan plus one and while Iain Henderson was the preferred option for the World Cup, Devin Toner and Ultan Dillane are now back in the mix.

The back row, too, is an area that has suffered from inertia and could do with an infusion. Leinster young gun Caelan Doris has been impressing over recent weeks and pushing CJ Stander out to 6 might make sense to the new boss with Josh van der Flier likely to stay put.

Possible Ireland XV to face Scotland: Larmour; Conway, Ringrose, Henshaw, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Herring, Furlong; Ryan, Toner; Stander, Van der Flier, Doris.

Follow Ireland v Scotland (kick-off 4.45pm) on Saturday via our live blog on and the News Now app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head, Monday at 8pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.