Leo Cullen will win his first full Six Nations cap when he takes his place in the Ireland starting line-up against Wales in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Leo Cullen will win his first full Six Nations cap when he takes his place in the Ireland starting line-up against Wales in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Cullen takes the place of Gary Longwell who failed a fitness test yesterday (Tuesday) morning.
Alan Quinlan is also promoted to the starting XV in place of Victor Costello who picked up a mild calf strain in training on Monday and although coach Eddie O’Sullivan said that he could “possibly get away with it,” he felt that “discretion was the better part of valour in this call.”
The third change, and the one that caused most surprise, was the inclusion of Justin Bishop on the right wing for John Kelly
Explaining that , O’Sullivan said, “It was a bit of horses for courses. Justin is back on his game again. We looked at him closely and feel he is the guy for this position for this particular game. It was a tight call, could have gone either way, but in this particular case we feel it’s the right one.”
Bishop hasn’t played for Ireland since the autumn international against Argentina and has just two games under his belt since breaking his thumb but O’Sullivan said he is the type of player that will always deliver.
Cullen is another who the coach has faith in to deliver.
“Leo has always delivered a very good performance for us when he’s come in. Whether it’s for ten minutes or twenty minutes or an hour he a really good workman. I have no concerns about him, he’ll give a good account of himself on Saturday.”
O’Sullivan believes that both Longwell and Costello will be available for selection for the game against England as might Girvan Demsey and Shane Horgan.
15. Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
14. Justin Bishop (London Irish)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Blackrock College/Leinster) – capt
12. Kevin Maggs (Bath)
11. Denis Hickie (St Mary’s College/Leinster)
10. David Humphreys (Dungannon/Ulster)
9. Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
1. Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
2. Shane Byrne (Blackrock College/Leinster)
3. John Hayes (Shannon/Munster)
4. Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)
5. Malcolm O’Kelly (St Mary’s College/Leinster)
6. Alan Quinlan (Shannon/Munster)
7. Keith Gleeson (St Mary’s College/Leinster)
8. Anthony Foley (Shannon/Munster).
16. Frank Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
17. Justin Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster)
18. Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
19. Eric Miller (Terenure College/Leinster)
20. Guy Easterby (Llanelli)
21. Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22. John Kelly (Cork Constitution/Munster).