Cullen to captain Ireland in RWC warm-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cullen to captain Ireland in RWC warm-up

05/08/2011 02:14:38 AM Comments (0)

Leinster lock Leo Cullen will captain Ireland for the first time after Brian O'Driscoll was ruled out of their opening World Cup warm-up match against Scotland on Saturday.

Regular skipper O'Driscoll has been sidelined by a combination of neck and shoulder injuries.

Also missing at Murrayfield this weekend will be O'Driscoll's fellow centre Gordon D'Arcy, out with an ankle injury.

In their absence Fergus McFadden and Paddy Wallace will form a new-look midfield partnership, with Andrew Trimble and Luke Fitzgerald on the wings.

Meanwhile full-back Rob Kearney returns to Test duty for the first time since suffering a knee injury against New Zealand in November.

Munster scrum-half Tomas O'Leary is back in Test action too, having made his last Ireland appearance against France in February before being ruled out for the remainder of the season with an eye problem.

Elsewhere, hooker Jerry Flannery was named on the bench following a longstanding calf problem.

Ireland's squad features two uncapped players, with Connacht's Mike McCarthy starting at blindside flanker and Munster back Felix Jones amongst the replacements.

New cap McCarthy will have plenty of experience alongside him in the back row in Denis Leamy and Niall Ronan.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson announced his side on Tuesday.

Ireland beat Scotland 21-18 when the teams last met, in the Six Nations, at Murrayfield in February.

In all, Ireland will have four warm-up matches before coach Declan Kidney takes his squad to New Zealand for the World Cup, which starts next month.

After the Scotland match, they are away to France in Bordeaux on August 13 before welcoming 'Les Bleus' to Dublin the following weekend.

Ireland conclude their warm-up campaign at home to England on August 27.

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