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Ireland Team To Play France

Ireland Team To Play France

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan has rung the changes in several areas of the Irish line-up for next Saturday’s Six Nations showdown with defending champions France (Stade de France, kick-off 5pm local time).

In the backs, Andrew Trimble moves into the centre to partner team captain Brian O’Driscoll in midfield.

With Trimble moving from the wing, Robert Kearney is named to start on the left wing with Geordan Murphy moving to the right wing to form a back three combination completed by Girvan Dempsey, who will be winning his 80th cap for Ireland in Paris.

There are also changes in the forwards with Bernard Jackman, who came off the bench against Italy, starting at hooker for the first time in a Six Nations championship in place of Rory Best, who is named among the replacements. 

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip comes into the team at number 8, with Denis Leamy moving to the blindside and Simon Easterby also moving to the replacements.

The other change to the matchday squad sees Shane Horgan, who came through the Ireland ‘A’ game last Friday night, named on the replacements bench.

Commenting on the new inclusions in the side, Eddie O’Sullivan said: “We’ve decided to give the Leinster guys a run. Their form has been good and we wanted to see how they got on last week after coming off the bench.

“After seeing that, it was only fair to give them a start. Both players (Jackman and Heaslip) are ball carriers and that will be beneficial for us in Paris.

“Kearney’s inclusion is a reward for his display against Italy. He came off the bench and did really well.”

Right winger Murphy missed training on Tuesday due to an eye problem (corneal abrasion). O’Sullivan confirmed: “Geordan is seeing an eye specialist this afternoon. The expectation is that he will be fine.”

IRELAND TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v France, 2008 RBS Six Nations, Stade de France, Paris, Saturday, February 9, kick-off 5pm local time):

Player    Club    Caps

15 – Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster) 79
14 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers) 54
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 80 (capt)  
12 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 20 
11 – Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 2
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster) 78
9 – Eoin Reddan (London Wasps) 6    

1 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster) 52  
2 – Bernard Jackman (Clontarf/Leinster) 5
3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster) 80  
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 41
5 – Malcolm O’Kelly (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 90
6 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster) 28  
7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster) 42 
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Clontarf/Leinster) 4


16 – Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 18
17 – Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster) 3
18 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) 12 
19 – Simon Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets) 63 
20 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster) 80 
21 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster) 6
22 – Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster) 58

Not Considered:

Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster) {suspension}
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster) {arm}
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) {back}