The Ireland team to play South Africa in the opening game of the 2010 GUINNESS Series shows the return of several players who missed the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
Luke Fitzgerald starts his first Test match in nearly a year, since playing against Australia last November, and is named on the left wing, with Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney making up the other back-three positions.
Gordon D’Arcy will earn his 50th cap when he lines out alongside Brian O’Driscoll, his long-time Leinster and Ireland centre partner.
Eoin Reddan has been given the starting berth at scrum half and Rory Best will line out at hooker after missing the summer tour due to an ankle injury.
Best will pack down in the front row with Tony Buckley and Cian Healy at tighthead and loosehead respectively, both of whom started Ireland’s most recent Test against Australia.
Donncha O’Callaghan and Mick O’Driscoll also started that game in June and will again form the second row partnership, with Stephen Ferris and David Wallace named in the back row alongside Jamie Heaslip.
The final spot in the replacements will be decided later in the week with Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls all in the frame.
Team captain O’Driscoll, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, commented: “I feel good and I’m looking forward to the team coming back to what is essentially our home.
“We’ve enjoyed our time at Croke Park but now we want to make some memories at the new stadium.
“It would have been disappointing to miss the first game at the new Aviva Stadium, so I’m looking forward to playing.”
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v South Africa, 2010 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 6, kick-off 5.30pm):
15 – Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 – Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 – Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
10 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
9 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 – Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster)
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster)
6 – Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 – Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht)
17 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
19 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
20 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
21 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster)/Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)/Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
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