07/06/02. John O’Neill and Leo Cullen were among those selected when Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan announced the replacements for the game against the NZ Divisional XV
O’Neill’s elevation to the bench represents something of a fairytale ending to the season. After starting for Munster in the Heineken Cup final, he was then called into the national squad and now faces the prospect of a first ever start for his country. The player was naturally delighted.
” Of course I’m thrilled, It’s great to be getting the opporunity just to be on the bench and I’ll enjoy that for the moment. What happens after that is a bonus.”
O’Sullivan named nine replacements but can only use seven to preserve the game as a first class fixture. However it will allow him examine his options as the game progresses. The side underwent a very short training session this morning as they were intending to return to the Stadium in the evening to have a walk around under the lights.
Ireland Replacements. Shane Byrne, Marcus Horan, Leo Cullen, Eric Miller, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Geordan Murphy, John O’Neill, John Kelly