5th August 2011 17:34
Ireland will have a new captain, one debutant in the starting line-up and another on the replacements bench when they open their schedule of Rugby World Cup warm-up matches against Scotland.
SCOTLAND v IRELAND, Murrayfield, 2.15pm (live BBC Two Northern Ireland/Setanta Sports Ireland)
Team News: The Ireland team to play Scotland in their first Rugby World Cup warm-up match on Saturday has been named. Leinster lock Leo Cullen will captain his country for the first time at Test level.
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Cullen, who will be winning his 30th cap, leads an Ireland side that contains two uncapped players in the 22-man matchday squad.
Connacht’s Mike McCarthy starts the game at blindside flanker in his first Test match appearance, while the other uncapped player, Felix Jones from Munster, has been named amongst the replacements.
Rob Kearney returns at full-back for the first time since last November’s GUINNESS Series, having recovered from a knee injury.
Fergus McFadden and Paddy Wallace will form a new-look centre partnership, with Andrew Trimble and Luke Fitzgerald named on the wings.
Tom Court, Sean Cronin and Tony Buckley will pack down in the front row, and Cullen is joined in the engine room by Donnacha Ryan.
New cap McCarthy will have plenty of experience alongside him in the back row – the 50-times capped Denis Leamy starts at number 8 and Niall Ronan will line out at openside flanker.
Meanwhile, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has announced his team for Saturday’s encounter between the Six Nations rivals.
Experienced centre Graeme Morrison returns in midfield having missed the Championship with a knee injury. His inclusion sees Sean Lamont revert to the left wing at the expense of Ulster’s Simon Danielli.
In the pack, there is a first start at openside flanker for the 25-year-old Ross Rennie, whose six caps thus far have been off the bench and whom Andy Robinson has admired and nurtured since his spell as Edinburgh’s head coach.
Johnnie Beattie is given a chance to put his shoulder woes behind him at number 8, Alasdair Strokosch comes in at blindside flanker and Jim Hamilton will start at lock.
The newly introduced quartet replace John Barclay, Kelly Brown, Nathan Hines and Alastair Kellock respectively.
The Scots will be captain by scrum half Rory Lawson, who led them to victories over reigning World champions South Africa and Samoa at Murrayfield and Pittodrie respectively last November.
On the bench Robinson has listed two uncapped players – the 21-year-old Edinburgh back rower David Denton, who has already play for the Scottish Sevens and ‘A’ teams, and Bath full-back Jack Cuthbert. The 23-year-old has also won promotion from the Scotland ‘A’ squad.
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They cost from £5 for children and students and from £10 for adults. You will also be able to buy tickets on the day.
SCOTLAND: Chris Paterson (Edinburgh); Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Joe Ansbro (London Irish), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Scarlets); Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lawson (Gloucester) (capt); Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors).
Replacements: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), David Denton (Edinburgh), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Jack Cuthbert (Bath).
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster); Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster); Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster) (capt), Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster).
Replacements: Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Dave Pearson, Stuart Terheege (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Graham Warren (England)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Scotland to win: 4/5; Draw: 20/1; Ireland to win: Evens
Pre-Match Quotes: Leo Cullen (Ireland) – “Everyone’s familiar with the mindset of four years ago when the team went over there and really struggled to put in a decent performance. Scotland caught us cold a bit and that’s something we’ve talked about this week.
“There are mixed expectations of the next month but everyone’s looking forward to it. It’s a strange situation to be in where you’re playing a pre-season game but with lots at stake.
“There’s not a huge amount at stake on the outcome of the game, but for the individuals there’s a lot at stake.
“It depends on what way you look at it when it comes to judging if performance is more important than results in this sort of match.
“Individuals want to perform well but that’s a lot easier to do if the team plays well. We have to have realistic expectations starting off, but everyone seems to have an edge in training.”
Rory Lawson (Scotland) – “We have been ruthless in spells but what we need to do is be ruthless all the time. When we have opportunities to put a team to the sword then we must take them.
“There’s an underlying awareness that there’s a lot on the line. There’s huge competition. Look across the squad of 38, we’re all fit, so the competition is massive.
“Guys are just itching for opportunities. That’s clear because every time you go out to train you want to be the best you can be.
“No session goes unwatched. Everything is filmed and all the details taken care of. You have to be bang on your game.
“Everyone knows that they have to get their bit right if they are to be given the best opportunity. There will be little battles here and there, but everyone is focusing on getting themselves right.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2008: RBS 6 Nations: Ireland 34 Scotland 13, Croke Park
2009: RBS 6 Nations: Scotland 15 Ireland 22, Murrayfield
2010: RBS 6 Nations: Ireland 20 Scotland 23, Croke Park
2011: RBS 6 Nations: Scotland 18 Ireland 21, Murrayfield