Tomorrow evening, the Leinster Lions take on Gloucester in Donnybrook, Ulster play Orrell in Ravenhill and Munster open their seasonal account against Rotherham in Limerick
Tomorrow evening, the Leinster Lions take on Gloucester in Donnybrook, Ulster play Orrell in Ravenhill and Munster open their seasonal account against Rotherham in Thomond Park. And each game will have a host of international stars on view with the national selectors at each venue as they attempt to put the final touches to the RWC Squad.
In Donnybrook, (kick-ff 7.30pm), most eyes will be on Denis Hickie, Leo Cullen and Eric Miller. A fit again Hickie is a virtual certainty for Eddie O’Sullivan’s squad but Cullen and Miller have a fight on their hands to edge into the ultra competitive back-five arena.
Jonathan Bell misses the Ravenhill clash through injury sustained during the week in training but he hopes to be fit for the international against Italy.
The Thomond Park crowd could see the return of Keith Wood in a Munster jersey with the Irish captain expected to be given much needed game time in his bid to regain full fitness ahead of the RWC.
Bryn Cunningham; Seamus Mallon, Ryan Constable, Shane Stewart, Andrew Maxwell; Paddy Wallace, Kieran Campbell; Ronan McCormack, Paul Shields, Simon Best; Matt McCullough, Gary Longwell; Tony McWhirter, Andy Ward capt, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Matt Sexton, Clem Boyd, Matt Mustchin, Neil Best, Reece Spee, Tommy Bowe, Scott Young.
Girvan Dempsey; Gordon D’Arcy, Kieran Lewis, David Quinlan, Denis Hickie; Christian Warner, Brian O’Meara; Reggie Corrigan capt, Shane Byrne, Niall Treston; Ben Gissing, Leo Cullen; Aidan McCullen, Keith Gleeson, Eric Miller.
Replacements: Darren Molloy, Gavin Hickie, Aidan Kearney, Shane Jennings, Brian O’Riordan, Matthew Leek, John McWeeney, Gary Brown, Des Dillon.
Backs: J Staunton, D Crotty, M Lawlor, S Payne, M Mullins, J Jones Hughes, R Henderson, C O’Sullivan, A Horgan, M McPhail, J Holland, E Reddan, F Murphy, D Urlich.
Forwards: J Williams, P Malone, D Wallace, C McMahon, A Quinlan, D Leamy, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, T Hogan, T Hayes, E Halvey, J Hayes, J Blaney, J Flannery, A Long, K Wood, M Horan, S Kerr, F Roche, E McGovern, F McLoughlin.