Thursday, 15 November 2012

Kidney's New Kids on the Block

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Ireland have named a much-changed side for Saturday's non-cap match against Fiji at Thomond Park in Limerick.

Three uncapped Ulster players - Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson - all make their first starts.

No caps will be awarded for the game, offering coach Declan Kidney an opportunity for experimentation ahead of next week's match with Argentina.

Only Mike Ross, Conor Murray and Jamie Heaslip have been retained from the team which lost 16-12 to South Africa.

Denis Hurley plays at full-back, with Fergus McFadden joining another Ulster player, centre Darren Cave, Marshall and Gilroy completing the three-quarters.

Ulster fly-half Jackson and Conor Murray form the half-back partnership.

Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross, who had been a fitness doubt, make up the front row.

Dan Tuohy and Donncha O'Callaghan are included in the second row and Iain Henderson, John Muldoon and skipper Heaslip complete the pack.

In-form Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall features on a strong the bench which includes Cian Healy, Donnacha Ryan and Jonathan Sexton.

New Zealand-born prop Michael Bent, who made his Test debut against the Springboks despite arriving in Ireland only two weeks earlier, must settle for a place among the replacements after losing out to Ross.

"We know it will be a difficult test and this is a vote of confidence for the players we've picked," said Kidney.

"We know they'll do a job and they've been training really well over the last two and a half weeks. We feel they deserve their go."

Ireland have won all three of their previous encounters against the Fijians.

Ireland: D Hurley (Munster); F McFadden (Leinster), D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy; P Jackson (all Ulster), C Murray (Munster); D Kilcoyne (Munster) , S Cronin, M Ross (both Leinster); D O'Callaghan (Munster), D Tuohy; I Henderson (both Ulster), J Muldoon (Connacht), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).
Replacements: C Healy, R Strauss, M Bent (all Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), C Henry, P Marshall (both Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster), S Zebo (Munster).

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