5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland U19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday 14th December has been announced.
Stringer, who turns 29 next month, was incredibly earning only his fourth cap as a replacement. He took over from Ulster's Isaac Boss for the closing stages to win his 71st cap in all.
The Irish scrum, led by John Hayes, Rory Best and Marcus Horan, prepares to take on the Australian eight. Both set pieces stood up to the task on Sunday with the Irish winning all nine of their put-ins and John Connolly's visitors claiming ten out of ten, however rookie scrum half Matt Giteau's put-in was skewed on more than one occasion.
Bloodied but unbowed, Ulster prop Bryan Young comes off after a confident first start for Ireland. The 25-year-old has benefited from having former international Justin Fitzpatrick "breathing down" his neck and "putting pressure on" for a starting spot in the Ulster front row this season. Also having his provincial colleague Rory Best alongside him against Australia was a considerable bonus for Young.
The Ballymena clubman said: "Rory's a phenomenal scrummager. It helps to have someone like that there. We work together, bounce things off one another. If he is struggling then I'll get him going and vice-versa. It's good to have that relationship."
Munster back rower Denis Leamy is certainly a player who relishes the physical contact and big 'hits' of Test match rugby. The Tipperary man, the winner of the 2006 Texaco Sportstars rugby award, revealed recently that a wrestling expert had visited the Ireland camp to pass on some tips that could be used to improve the squad's rucking and tackling skills.
Ulster hooker Rory Best pleads his innocence as he is left standing at a first half scrum at Lansdowne Road. The Belfast Harlequins clubman may lose the number 2 jersey to the fit-again Frankie Sheahan for this weekend's Guinness Autumn Test against the Pacific Islanders.
Coach Eddie O'Sullivan admitted: "There will be some changes. Other than Marcus Horan we have a clean bill of health. We'll pick the 22 from the 32 that we have at the moment. There is a good bit of elbow room now after winning the first two games and we'll look at doing things differently against the Islanders. But I still want to win."
The Guinness man-of-the-match, Ulster flanker Neil Best thrived on the physical showdown in the wet conditions last Sunday. The Belfast-born firebrand is seen above sending Wallaby flanker Phil Waugh skidding across the surface and taking on the might of burly number 8 Wycliff Palu. Soon rugby players everywhere will be drinking cups of maple syrup!
Munster flanker David Wallace, with Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy in support, tries to gather a loose ball as Ireland press for their opening try against the Australians. The 30-year-old Limerick man has now started Ireland's last ten Test matches since donning the number 7 jersey against Italy last February. His previous ten caps were spread out over three years.
Munster and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell gets ready to crash into Australian winger Mark Gerrard at Lansdowne Road. The Guinness Rugby Writers Of Ireland Player of the Year award and the BT IRUPA Players' Player of the Year award already adorn O'Connell's mantlepiece back home in Limerick - will he be adding to his awards collection this week with his nominations for both the IRB and IRPA Player of the Year accolades?
Always a firm favourite with the fans, O'Connell was also voted the 2005/06 Player of the Year by the Irish Rugby Supporters Club.
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll ghosts past the challenge of Australia's Lote Tuqiri as the men in green pin the visitors back in their 22 during an electric first half. If he plays against the Pacific Islanders, the 27-year-old O'Driscoll will equal Kevin Maggs' record as Ireland's most-capped centre (70 caps). The Bristol-born Maggs earned his last cap against Japan last year.
Gordon D'Arcy celebrates Ireland's win with his Leinster team-mate Malcolm O'Kelly, who was sprung from the bench to win his 82nd cap - the giant lock has made 75 starts for his country since making his senior debut against New Zealand in November 1997.
**All photos by Inpho Photography**
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