Ireland ring changes for France test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ireland ring changes for France test

12/08/2011 01:10:28 AM Comments (0)

Ireland have made nine changes for their Rugby World Cup warm-up international against France in Bordeaux on Saturday following their defeat to Scotland last weekend.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has retained the back three of Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Luke Fitzgerald but has named a new-look centre combination with Keith Earls partnering Paddy Wallace at centre.

Veteran fly-half Ronan O'Gara will start in tandem with Eoin Reddan at scrum-half.

In the forwards, one of the nine changes is a positional switch that sees Donnacha Ryan moving from the second row to the blindside flank with Donncha O'Callaghan coming in to partner captain Leo Cullen at lock.

Sean O'Brien also comes into the back row while Kidney has chosen an entirely new front row to face the French comprising Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross.

Kidney said Ireland were determined to improve on their display against the Scots at Murrayfield where a late try saw them beaten 10-6.

"I think once you get the opportunity to wear the green jersey you've got to win the match. That's going to be our primary objective," Kidney said.

"Obviously we have a few performance goals and they will be to improve on last week's performance."

Kidney revealed his coaching team had needed to rein in Ireland's players during training this week as the battle for World Cup places intensified.

"They're working really hard. Sometimes you have to pull them off the training pitch because they want do extras at the end," he said.

"From my side I couldn't be asking any more from them."

Cullen, captaining the side in the continued absence of Brian O'Driscoll who is still recovering from injury, said Ireland would need to maintain discipline against a dangerous France line-up.

"It's always a massive challenge playing any French team away from home," Cullen said. "We need to be very secure when we have the ball.

"They have a lot of pace through the team and if we give them opportunities they're going to be very, very dangerous. So we have to be very disciplined in the way we approach the game."

Ireland

Rob Kearney (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Paddy Wallace (Ulster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster); Denis Leamy (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Leo Cullen (Leinster, captain), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster) Res: Jerry Flannery (Munster), Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Felix Jones (Munster)

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