O'Connell new Ireland skipper

2013-11-07 17:34
Die Ierse slot Paul O’Connell kan Saterdag in Dublin met sy vurige spel en ervaring die lewe vir die Springbokke moeilik maak. Foto: WARREN LITTLE, GETTY IMAGES

Dublin - Paul O'Connell has been named as the full-time captain of Ireland by new coach Joe Schmidt on Thursday.

However, No 8 Jamie Heaslip will lead the side in their opening November international against Samoa at Lansdowne Road on Saturday because O'Connell has not recovered sufficiently from a calf injury to start the match, with the lock among the replacements instead.

O'Connell has previously captained both Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, leading the combined side on their losing tour of South Africa in 2009.

But the decision by New Zealander Schmidt, who coached Heaslip at Irish provincial level when previously in charge of two-time European champions Leinster, means the back-row forward was stripped of the full-time Test captaincy he held last season under former Ireland boss Declan Kidney.

Leinster loose-head prop Jack McGrath is in line to make his Test debut against Samoa, while Dave Kearney, brother of full-back Rob Kearney, could also earn a first cap for Ireland off the bench.

Schmidt's first Ireland starting side included six Lions in Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Conor Murray, Heaslip and Rory Best, with three more on the bench in Cian Healy, O'Connell and Sean O'Brien.

But there was no place for the injured Jonathan Sexton, one of the stars of the Lions 2-1 series win in Australia this year, in the matchday 23 with Paddy Jackson starting at fly-half instead.

Sexton, who joined Paris-based Racing Metro at the start of this season from Leinster, was omitted after aggravating a hip injury while goal-kicking during a midweek training session.

Schmidt has decided not to risk Sexton against the tough-tackling Samoans ahead of potentially sterner Dublin encounters later this month against Australia and world champions New Zealand.

But there is plenty of experience in an Ireland back division where former captain Brian O'Driscoll and longtime centre partner Gordon D'Arcy will have 200 caps for their country between them when they take the field this weekend.



15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11Fergus McFadden, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain), 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Dave Kearney



Read more on:    paul o'connell  |  rugby

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