The Ireland team to play France in the GUINNESS Summer Series on Saturday has been named. Captain Brian O’Driscoll returns to the starting line-up for the first time since March.
In what is a busy week for the Ireland squad, two Irish teams will play games in the space of three days.
An Ireland Select XV will take on Connacht at Donnybrook on Thursday (kick-off 6.30pm), followed by Ireland playing France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
In the GUINNESS Summer Series Test against France, the team that will take to the pitch shows ten changes to the one that started in Bordeaux last weekend.
There are six changes in the back-line, one of which is positional. Felix Jones will make his first start for Ireland at full-back and Keith Earls moves from the centre to the left wing.
With Earls moving into the back-three, Gordon D’Arcy comes into the midfield alongside captain Brian O’Driscoll, with the experienced pair making their seasonal debuts for Ireland.
Jonathan Sexton will start at number 10, linking up again with his half-back partner from the recent Scotland game, Tomas O’Leary.
Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip come into the starting pack after impressing off the bench last time out, and Sean O’Brien moves to blindside flanker.
David Wallace will make his first start of the campaign at openside flanker, while back row colleague Stephen Ferris is a welcome addition to the replacements following his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Match tickets can be purchased via the Ticketmaster website here or through their outlets nationwide. You can also buy tickets from the IRFU offices at 10/12 Lansdowne Road (up until 5pm on Friday).
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v France, Aviva Stadium, GUINNESS Summer Series, Saturday, August 20, kick-off 5pm):
15 – Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
14 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 – Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
9 – Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 – Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 – Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
7 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 – Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
17 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
18 – Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
19 – Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
20 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
In the Connacht game, several players who were involved in the first Test match against France will get another chance to play.
Leo Cullen will captain the Ireland Select side and will be partnered in the second row by Mick O’Driscoll, with Tony Buckley, Sean Cronin, John Hayes completing the front five.
Shane Jennings will have his first outing of August, after returning from a broken arm, alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Denis Leamy in the back row.
Former Ulster team-mates Isaac Boss and Paddy Wallace will make up the half-back partnership, and Fergus McFadden, Johne Murphy and the fit-again Geordan Murphy form an exciting back-three.
Match tickets will be available at the gate on Thursday, priced at €;10 for adults and €;5 for students and OAPs. You can also purchase them from the IRFU offices at 10/12 Lansdowne Road.
IRELAND Select XV & Replacements (v Connacht, Donnybrook, Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match, Thursday, August 18, kick-off 6.30pm):
15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)
14 – Johne Murphy (Young Munster/Munster)
13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
12 – Ian Keatley (Munster)
11 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
10 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
1 – Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks)
2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster)
3 – John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
4 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster) (capt)
6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
7 – Shane Jennings (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
8 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
16 – Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
17 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
19 – Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster)
20 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
21 – Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Ian Whitten (Ballymena/Ulster)