Irish rugby boss Declan Kidney welcomes back a number of first team players for the clash with France in the third of four warm-up internationals at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
The team was announced today with Kidney being able to call on Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, and Stephen Ferris. The return of the latter, who has been out of the game since January, is the biggest boast to Kidney ahead of the World Cup.
O’Driscoll and D’Arcy start weekend, while Ferris will take his place on the bench. With just the tie against England next week left to come, Kidney will be anxious to give all his players a run out as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Rob Kearney’s scan on the groin strain he picked up against France in Bordeaux last weekend produced “pretty good news” but he will not play this weekend, allowing Felix Jones to come in at full back.
Ireland Team & Replacements (v France, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday, August 20th, kick-off 5.00pm local):
15 – Felix Jones (Shannon/ Munster)
14 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) Captain
12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 – Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster)
10 – Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
9 – Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 – Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 – Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 – Jerry Flannery (Shannon/ Munster)
17 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
18 – Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
19 – Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
20 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
In the Connacht game, several players who were involved in the test match against France last week get another chance to play in Donnybrook tomorrow evening.
Leo Cullen will captain the side and will be partnered in the second row by Mick O’Driscoll, with Tony Buckley, Sean Cronin, John Hayes completing the front five. Shane Jennings will have his first outing of August after returning from a broken arm alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Denis Leamy in the back row.
Isaac Boss and Paddy Wallace will make up the half back partnership with Fergus McFadden, Johne Murphy and Geordan Murphy in the back three.
Ireland Select XV Team & Replacements (v Connacht, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin, Thursday, August 18th, kick-off 6.30pm local):
15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
14 – Johne Murphy (Munster)
13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
12 – Ian Keatley (Munster)
11 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
10 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
1 – Tony Buckley (Sale)
2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster)
3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
4 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)
6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
7 – Shane Jennings (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Leinster)
16 – Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
17 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
19 – Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster)
20 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
21 – Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Ian Whitten (Ballymena/Ulster)