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Five Ireland players are set to start for the British and Irish Lions against Taranaki on Wednesday, in the tourists' first mid-week match on New Zealand soil.

Lions Tour 2005: Wednesday, June 8Taranaki v Lions, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, 8.10am Irish time (live Sky Sports 1/RTE Radio 1)

Geordan Murphy at full-back, Leinster duo Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie on the wings, and Munster pack pairing John Hayes and Donncha O'Callaghan will earn their second Lions caps at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium.

Four of that quintet took part in Saturday's training session at Takapuna for the non-selected players for the Bay of Plenty match, with lock O'Callaghan making the replacements bench for the men-in-red's opening outing, but failing to feature.

None of Sir Clive Woodward's side, who saw off Bay 34-20 on Saturday, are to start on Wednesday. Ben Kay, Martyn Williams and Gavin Henson do make the bench.

In Brian O'Driscoll's absence, England back row Martin Corry, one of six Leicester players in the matchday squad, captains the Lions.

Leinster and Ireland hooker Shane Byrne, who was in Auckland while the Lions lined out in Rotorua due to an injury picked up in last Friday's training session, is amongst Wednesday's replacements.

Byrne is one of 16 players included in the Lions squad for the Taranaki tie, that were involved in the 25-25 draw with Argentina in Cardiff last month.

Wednesday's opposition Taranaki, nicknamed 'the Naki', finished fifth in last season's National Provincial Championship Division 1. They spent five consecutive weeks on top of the league before falling away. They did emerge as the top flight's top try scorers with 43 in nine outings, but are rated amongst one of the weaker sides the Lions will face Down Under.

Taranaki, coached by former farmer and All-Black full-back Kieran Crowley, named their starting XV on Monday.

Crowley, now 43, earned the last of his 35 New Zealand caps at Lansdowne Road when the Kiwis were beaten 16-6 by Australia in the 1991 World Cup semi-final.

Taranaki: Scott Ireland; Sailosi Tagicakibau, Mark Stewart, Chris Woods, Lifeimi Mafi, Sam Young; Craig Fevre, Tomasi Soqeta; Tony Penn, Andrew Hore, Gordon Slater, John Willis, Paul Tito (Capt), Scott Breman, Chris Masoe.

Replacements: Phil Mitchell, Hamish Mitchell, Jason Eaton, Richard Bryant, Mathew Harvey, Brendon Watt, James King.

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS:

(15) Geordan Murphy (Leicester/Ireland)(14) Shane Horgan (Leinster/Ireland)(13) Will Greenwood (NEC Harlequins/England)(12) Ollie Smith (Leicester/England)(11) Denis Hickie (Leinster/Ireland)

(10) Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks/England)(9) Christ Cusiter (The Borders/Scotland)(1) Graham Rowntree (Leicester/England)(2) Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks/England)(3) John Hayes (Munster/Ireland)(4) Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster/Ireland)(5) Danny Grewcock (Bath/England)(6) Martin Corry (Leicester/England) (Capt)(7) Lewis Moody (Leicester/England)(8) Michael Owen (Newport-Gwent Dragons/Wales)

Replacements:

(16) Shane Byrne (Leinster/Ireland)(17) Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales)(18) Ben Kay (Leicester/England)(19) Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)(20) Gareth Cooper (Newport-Gwent Dragons/Wales)(21) Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle/England)(22) Gavin Henson (The Ospreys/Wales)

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)

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