Furlong is the 109th player to captain Ireland as he makes his 62nd Test appearance in green. While Furlong is not the first prop to captain his country, the last one to do so was Simon Best against Argentina in 2007.
Johnny Sexton first captained Ireland against Russia at RWC19 in Japan and was then made permanent captain following Andy Farrell‘s appointment as Ireland head coach and Rory Best’s retirement.
Since taking over as Head Coach, Farrell has facilitated opportunities for the leadership group to wear the captain’s armband with James Ryan first captaining the side against England in 2020 and on three other subsequent occasions, while Iain Henderson led the group against France in 2021.
There are five players in the starting side to face Fiji that started games against the Māori All Blacks during the Summer Tour of New Zealand – Jimmy O’Brien, Stuart McCloskey, Jeremy Loughman, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney.
Tom O’Toole, Cian Prendergast and Craig Casey, who are amongst the replacements for Saturday’s game, also started matches in the Māori Series.
There are three uncapped players in the Match Day Squad – Loughman, who starts at loosehead prop, Prendergast who is covering lock and Jack Crowley, who is cover out-half.
All three featured for Ireland ‘A’ against the All Blacks XV last weekend along with Max Deegan, who is named on the bench and is line for his second cap having made his debut against Wales in February 2020.
Deegan, Prendergast and Crowley were part of the successful Emerging Ireland tour to Bloemfontein.
Ireland vs Fiji
15. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 1 cap
14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 3 caps
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 60 caps
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 7 caps
11. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Galway Corinthians) 7 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 36 caps
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 21 caps
1. Jeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen)*
2. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 29 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 61 caps CAPTAIN
4. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 9 caps
5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 34 caps
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 21 caps
7. Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 2 caps
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 31 caps
16. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 11 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 119 caps
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 3 caps
19. Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Galwegians)*
20. Max Deegan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 cap
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 5 caps
22. Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)*
23. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 45 caps
*denotes uncapped player