Ireland team to play USA, Kick off 7am Sunday

Declan Kidney has named the Ireland team to play the United States of America in the opening Pool C game in the Rugby World Cup.

The big surprise is the selection of Conor Murray at scrum-half ahead of Eoin Redden and Isaac Best.

“Conor’s been going well in training and we said we’d judge it off that. If we’re to know more about him, now’s the time to know,” said Declan Kidney.

“He deserves a go and we think he’s good enough to start. It’s a big call given it’s our first game in the World Cup, but what he’s been doing merits his inclusion.”

Sean O’Brien, who has a slight knock and does not start, but Kidney made it clear he should be fine to play against Australia.

“Sean is fit to play, medically he has been given the okay,”.

“But I’ve seen injuries like that before and he’ll benefit from getting absolute fitness back. I believe in the squad too. Shane Jennings has been going well in training and has a bit of match time under his belt last month.”

Nine of the starting team making their debuts at a Rugby World Cup tournament, with a further two possible debutants named among the replacements.

Geordan Murphy is named at full back with Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls completing the back three combination. Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray start an international together for the first time as the half backs, while centre Gordon D’Arcy will be winning his 60th cap.

The team will be captained by Brian O’Driscoll.

Ireland XV
15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)
14 – Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)*
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) Captain
12 – Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 – Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)*
10 – Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)*
9 – Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)*
1 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)*
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 – Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)*
7 – Shane Jennings (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)*
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)*

16 – Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
17 – Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks)*
18 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)*
19 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
20 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)

*Denotes Rugby World Cup debut


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