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Ireland Team Announcement

Ireland Team Announcement

The Ireland team to play Italy in the opening game of the 2008 RBS 6 Nations championship at Croke Park on Saturday has been named.

Centre Brian O’Driscoll will win his 80th cap for Ireland this Saturday when he leads the team out to play Italy at Croke Park in the opening game of the 2008 RBS 6 Nations championship.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan has named Geordan Murphy on the left wing, with Ulster’s Andrew Trimble named on the right wing. At half back, Ireland’s record points scorer Ronan O’Gara will continue his partnership with Eoin Reddan, who will win his sixth cap at scrum half.

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In the forwards, prop John Hayes will also be reaching the landmark of 80 Test caps in a front row that sees the return of Rory Best to the starting line-up. Second row Malcolm O’Kelly also returns to the starting fifteen to extend his Ireland caps record to 90.

Commenting on his team selection, coach O’Sullivan said: “There were a couple of difficult calls to make. The front row was hard because Rory has played very well since recovering from injury, but (Bernard) Jackman pushed him close.

“We looked at Jamie Heaslip because of his form but, on balance, we decided to leave the back row as it is. Scrum half was a tight call as well. It could have gone either way between Reddan and Stringer.”

IRELAND TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v Italy, 2008 RBS 6 Nations, Croke Park, Saturday, February 2, kick-off 2pm):

Player / Club / Caps

15 – Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster) 78

14 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 19

13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 79 (capt)

12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 36

11 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers) 53

10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster) 77

9 – Eoin Reddan (London Wasps) 5

1 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster) 51

2 – Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 17

3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster) 79

4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 40

5 – Malcolm O’Kelly (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 89

6 – Simon Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets) 62

7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster) 41

8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster) 27


16 – Bernard Jackman (Clontarf/Leinster) 4

17 – Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster) 2

18 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) 11

19 – Jamie Heaslip (Clontarf/Leinster) 3

20 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster) 79

21 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster) 6

22 – Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 1

Not Considered:

Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster) {suspension}

Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) {back}