Sunday’s permanent tsb international against Fiji, gives Irish coach, Eddie O’Sullivan a real chance to assess the strength in depth of his squad.
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan has rung the changes in no uncertain manner ahead of Sunday’s permanent tsb international against Fiji in an attempt to assess the strength in depth of his Irish squad. This game also provides an opportunity for players themselves to catch the management’s eye with the RWC just around the corner.
As far as O’Sullivan is concerned it’s an ideal game for such an exercise.
“We always intended to use these autumn internationals to rotate the squad and give guys a chance to show what they can do. It’s still a question of getting the balance right because if it isn’t then the players cannot do themselves justice. Fiji will be tough opponents. I wouldn’t take too much heed of the result from Wales last weekend because it was their first outing. They’ll come on a lot with the benefit of that game under their belts. They’ll be physical, like to play it fast and are good handlers.”
Opportunity beckons for Geordan Murphy who has been named at full-back. In the past, this hugely gifted player, hasn’t managed to transfer his club form to international level, and with O’Sullivan looking for back-up to Girvan Dempsey, Murphy needs a big game on Sunday.
But it’s in the pack, that the fiercest competition for RWC places lies and Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, Leo Cullen, Alan Quinlan, Kieron Dawson and replacements, Eric Miller and Mick O’Driscoll will be only too aware that Sunday’s test is exactly that.
Miller is troubled by a hamstring strain and Victor Costello has been called into the squad as cover.
Ireland. G Murphy; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll capt, K Maggs, J Bishop; D Humphreys, G Easterby; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes; L Cullen. M O’Kelly; A Quinlan, K Dawson, A Foley.
Replacements: S Byrne, R Corrigan, M O’Driscoll, E Miller, P Stringer, R O’Gara, G D’Arcy.