O'Connell named full-time captain
Jamie Heaslip will captain Ireland against Samoa on Saturday - but Paul O'Connell will be new coach Joe Schmidt's full-time skipper.
Number eight Heaslip will lead Ireland this weekend as lock O'Connell has not sufficiently recovered from calf trouble to start the match.
O'Connell takes a seat on the bench, leaving 29-year-old loose forward Heaslip to assume the armband for Saturday.
But the Leinster back-rower has surrendered the full-time captaincy that he had held last season under Declan Kidney.
Sexton sat out a midweek training session after aggravating a niggle while goal-kicking. The 28-year-old Racing Metro fly-half was an unused replacement in his French club's surprising 9-6 Top 14 loss at bottom club Biarritz last Saturday.
Former Leinster playmaker Sexton complained of a stiff hip that day, and has now been omitted entirely from Schmidt's first matchday 23 as Ireland boss.
Fast-developing Leinster front-rower Jack McGrath will win his first cap at loosehead prop against the Samoans. The 24-year-old was called up to the Emerging Ireland squad to play in May's Tbilisi Cup, the inaugural round-robin tournament also including Georgia, a South Africa President's XV and Uruguay.
Schmidt has also named versatile Leinster back-three Dave Kearney on the bench, who will win his first cap if he takes the field.
Kearney could even line up alongside brother and starting full-back Rob, if he comes on at wing.
Team: 15-Rob Kearney, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Brian O'Driscoll, 12-Gordon D'Arcy, 11-Fergus McFadden, 10-Paddy Jackson, 9-Conor Murray, 8-Jamie Heaslip, 7-Chris Henry, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 5-Devin Toner, 4-Mike McCarthy, 3-Mike Ross, 2-Rory Best, 1-Jack McGrath