The Ireland team to play New Zealand in Wellington next Saturday has been named. The team shows a number of changes from the last Six Nations game against England and the recent outing against the Barbarians.
Brian O’Driscoll makes a return to the Ireland team to lead the side against New Zealand in Wellington in the opening game of the summer tour.
The return of the Ireland captain to the side allows the new centre partnership with Luke Fitzgerald, that was originally selected for the recent Barbarians game, make its belated debut.
Overall, the side sees a number of changes from the Barbarians game after the inclusion of 13 Munster players in the touring squad following the Heineken Cup final.
Seven of the pack are all Munster based and all played in the final, with Leinster number 8 Jamie Heaslip the only non-Munster player in the starting pack.
Jerry Flannery also returns to the side at hooker after missing the entire Six Nations championship, making it all Munster front row.
Rob Kearney retains the full-back spot he occupied against the Barbarians, while Eoin Reddan comes into the team after joining the squad on Monday afternoon fresh from helping Wasps to win the Guinness Premiership final.
IRELAND TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (New Zealand, Saturday, June 7, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 7.35pm local time/8.35am Irish time (live Sky Sports 1)):
Player / Club / Caps
15 – Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 6
14 – Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster) 61
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 83 (capt)
12 – Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster) 4
11 – Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 13
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster) 82
9 – Eoin Reddan (Wasps) 10
1 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster) 56
2 – Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster) 21
3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster) 84
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 45
5 – Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 52
6 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster) 32
7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster) 46
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Clontarf/Leinster) 8
16 – Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 22
17 – Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster) 7
18 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) 15
19 – Shane Jennings (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 1
20 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster) 82
21 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster) 8
22 – Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster) 80
Not considered due to injury:
Alan Quinlan (thigh)