18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Staunton's Munster colleague Frankie Sheahan wins his second full cap with Keith Wood named as a replacement while Trevor Brennan who was initially omitted from the squad is also named on the bench. Brennan was called into the squad earlier this week along with Simon Easterby and Barry Everitt and both those players now find themselves involved on Sunday along with the Barnhall man.
Team manager Brian O'Brien admitted that it was a most difficult week from a point of view of the disruption caused by injuries to 15 of the squad and the injury blight continued right up to the selection announcement. Shane Horgan, selected to play on the right wing, broke down in training this morning and was forced to withdraw from the side with Geordan Murphy moving up from the A side.
Included among those not considered for selection due to continuing injury are Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie, David Humphreys, David Wallace, Malcolm O'Kelly and Paul Burke, although O'Brien did stress that those players were not necessarily ruled out of consideration for the game against New Zealand.
Ireland. J Staunton (Munster); G Murphy (Leicester), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), K Maggs (Bath), G D'Arcy (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster); E Byrne (Leinster), F Sheahan (Munster), J Hayes (Munster); M Galwey (Munster), G Longwell (Ulster); E Miller (Leinster), K Dawson (London Irish), A Foley capt (Munster).
Replacements. K Wood (Harlequins), P Clohessy (Munster), T Bennan (Leinster), S Easterby (Llanelli), G Easterby (Llanelli), B Everitt (London Irish), M Mullins (Munster).