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Wood In Race Against Time

Wood In Race Against Time

Although named as captain of the squad, Keith Wood faces a race against time to be fit to lead Ireland in their opening autumn international friendly against the touring Australians.

Keith Wood has ben named as captain of the Ireland squad for the upcoming international against Australia at Lansdowne Road (Nov. 9th), despite the fact that he hasn’t played a game since the RWC qualifier against Russia on September 21st. It is believed that the Irish management have decided to give the inspirational hooker as much time as possible to declare his fitness although according to Harlequins team manager Mike Scott, it would mean that if he does make the starting line-up he would do so without any match time under his belt.
“We were a little surprised to see Keith named in the Irish squad,” said Scott. “However, we have an excellent working relationship with the Irish management and if they see fit to play him, then we will be delighted.”

Geordan Murphy is one player who will be disappointed not to see his name on the list, after returning from injury and impressing in his two games so far with Leicester Tigers. On that score, Eddie O’Sullivan feels, having watched him last weekend, that he needs a little more game time before he can be considered. With the doubt existing about Wood, and RWC 2003 ever on their minds, the Irish have named three vice-captains, Brian O’Driscoll, David Humphreys and Anthony Foley.

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Backs: Peter Stringer (Munster/Shannon), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Cork Constitution), David Humphreys (Ulster/Dungannon) vice-captain, Kevin Maggs (Bath), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster/Blackrock College) vice-captain, Denis Hickie (Leinster/St. Mary’s College), Girvan Dempsey (Leinster/Terenure College), Shane Horgan (Leinster/Lansdowne), John Kelly (Munster/Cork Constitution).

Keith Wood (Harlequins) captain, Shane Byrne (Leinster/Blackrock College), John Hayes (Munster/Shannon), Reggie Corrigan (Leinster/Greystones), Paul Wallace (Leinster/Blackrock College), Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster/St. Mary’s College), Gary Longwell (Ulster/Ballymena), Leo Cullen (Leinster/Blackrock College), Anthony Foley (Munster/Shannon) vice-captain, Keith Gleeson (Leinster/St. Mary’s College), Victor Costello (Leinster/St. Mary’s College), Alan Quinlan (Munster/Shannon).