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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland Team Will Be In Blue In Bayonne

Ireland Team Will Be In Blue In Bayonne

The Ireland team to play French club side Bayonne (Stade Jean Dauger, kick-off 9pm local time) has been named. The team, very different from the side that played Scotland, will take to the field in blue tomorrow as this is not an international game.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan has rung the changes in his selection for the practice game tomorrow evening (Thursday) against Bayonne in the south of France.

In all, there are 12 changes to the starting team, with only captain Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Neil Best being retained. In the backs, O’Driscoll is joined by Girvan Dempsey, Andrew Trimble, Gordon D’Arcy, Denis Hickie, Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer.

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Marcus Horan, Rory Best and John Hayes come into the front row, with Donncha O’Callaghan, Simon Easterby and Denis Leamy completing the forwards.

Commenting on the selection, coach O’Sullivan said: “The other players in the squad need game-time and this match gives us that opportunity. You cannot replicate the same levels of intensity and physicality in training as you can in a match, so Thursday night will be vital for their preparation. This will be a full-on match and will give the team the levels of contact we need.

“The new faces in the team have really been chomping at the bit to get a game and it will be a step up for them as they come out of their pre-season, but it is something that they need.”

Hooker Rory Best said: “I’ll be delighted to finally get on the park and play a game. It’s been a good week, after being named in the World Cup squad and now getting the chance to move up and play my first game. We have moved on from all our fitness work in the pre-season and the last couple of weeks have seen us sharpen up on our ball skills and team patterns.

“I know that I need to put all of that together on the park, so Thursday night should be a tough game and allow us to get that important first match under our belts.

“The training here (in Capbreton) has been great and I think we have all raised the bar another level. The guys who did not play last week are also eager to get a game, so we are looking forward to it.”

The Ireland team held their Captain’s run session this morning and all came through the session with out any injury. David Wallace (ankle) and Simon Best (back spasm) took part in a rehab session as they recover from their injuries.

The Ireland team will wear blue jerseys on Thursday night when they play Bayonne as this is not a full representative game.

IRELAND TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Bayonne, Stade Jean Dauger, Thursday, August 16, kick-off 9pm local time):

15 – Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster)
14 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 – Denis Hickie (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
9 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
1 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
2 – Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 – Simon Easterby (Llanelli)
7 – Neil Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)


16 – Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
17 – Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster)
18 – Malcolm O’Kelly (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
19 – Alan Quinlan (Shannon/Munster)
20 – Eoin Reddan (Wasps)
21 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
22 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester)