Rugby World Cup 2011

Irish ring changes for Russia

2011-09-23 08:35
Ronan O'Gara (File)

Auckland - Ireland have made 10 changes, one positional, for their Rugby World Cup Pool C match with tournament newcomers Russia at Rotorua on Sunday.

The Irish, who produced one of their greatest performances to upset the Wallabies 15-6 at Eden Park last weekend, left out most of their major stars, including skipper Brian O'Driscoll, lock Paul O'Connell and centre Gordon D'Arcy.

Leinster lock Leo Cullen will captain Ireland in his first World Cup appearance.

Leinster's Fergus McFadden makes his first World Cup appearance on the right wing, while Munster's Keith Earls moves from the wing to outside centre.

Earls will partner Ulster's Paddy Wallace, who also makes his debut in the tournament.

Ulster's Andrew Trimble comes in on the left wing, while the experienced Ronan O'Gara and Isaac Boss are the halves.

The Irish relegated first-choice hooker Rory Best to the replacements bench with Leinster's Sean Cronin taking over, while Sale's Tony Buckley also makes his first start at tighthead prop.

In the backrow, Munster's Donnacha Ryan starts at blindside flank instead of Stephen Ferris, while Cullen takes the place of injured lock O'Connell

"It’s been a long time coming. I’ve sat back and watched plenty of these games over the years and to finally get the opportunity to play, it’s pretty special. I can’t wait for it," Cullen said.

"After the Australia performance, there’s a real good buzz in the camp. I think for the guys that are playing this week there’s a massive responsibility to carry on that momentum we have.

"Guys have been training hard over the last couple of months and this is what we’ve been looking for, a chance to play. It’s a really exciting challenge and all the guys are chomping at the bit to get out there."

Only fullback Robert Kearney, back Keith Earls, number eight Jamie Heaslip, openside flank Sean O'Brien, lock Donncha O'Callaghan and loosehead prop Cian Healy remain from the team that downed Australia.



15 Robert Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Leo Cullen (captain), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy

Substitutes: 16 Rory Best, 17 Mike Ross, 18 Denis Leamy, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Geordan Murphy




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