Declan Kidney has named the Ireland team and replacements for the Rugby World Cup Pool C match against Russia in Rotorua International Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 6.00 pm local time/6:00am Irish time).
The new look side shows ten changes, one of which is a positional switch, to the starting fifteen from Ireland’s game against Australia.
Fergus McFadden makes his first appearance in a Rugby World Cup and starts on the right wing. Keith Earls moves from the wing to outside centre alongside Paddy Wallace, who also makes his debut in the tournament. Andrew Trimble is named on the left wing, while Ronan O’Gara and Isaac Boss start as the halfback partnership.
Sean Cronin makes the switch with Rory Best from the replacements to start at hooker, with Tony Buckley also making his first start at tight head prop. There is a change in the back row as Donnacha Ryan starts at blind side in place of Stephen Ferris. The final change to the side is Leo Cullen, who comes into the team in place of Paul O’Connell and will also have the honour of captaining the team in his first Rugby World Cup appearance.
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Russia, 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C, Rotorua International Stadium, Sunday, September 25, kick-off 6:00pm local time/6:00am Irish time):
15 – Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*
13 – Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
12 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)*
11 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
1 – Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster)
3 – Tony Buckley (Sale)
4 – Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 – Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)* Captain
6 – Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
7 – Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 – Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
17 – Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
18 – Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
19 – Shane Jennings (St.Mary’s College/Leinster)
20 – Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
22 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
*Denotes RWC Debut
N.B. All player biographies are available on the Irish Rugby website www.irishrugby.ie