O'Gara gets nod to face All Blacks
June 8, 2010
Ronan O'Gara starts at fly-half for Ireland © Getty Images
Ronan O'Gara has seen off the challenge of Jonathan Sexton and will start at fly-half against the All Blacks in New Plymouth on Saturday.
The veteran Munster pivot will play his 99th Test for Ireland, having lost his place to Sexton in the second half of the Six Nations. The Leinster youngster has only recently returned from a broken jaw and was prevented from taking part in last week's loss to the Barbarians by an infection in his mouth close to where he had surgery.
O'Gara is partnered by Munster team-mate Tomas O'Leary, with Eoin Reddan beating Peter Stringer to a place on the bench.
Connacht duo John Muldoon and Sean Cronin will play by far the biggest game in their young Test careers. Muldoon, the standout performer against the Baa Baas, starts in place of the injured Stephen Ferris at blindside while Cronin deputises for Jerry Flannery and Rory Best at hooker.
Mick O'Driscoll joins Donncha O'Callaghan in the second-row after Paul O'Connell's withdrawal, while Keith Earls' wing spot is filled by Ulster's Andrew Trimble. Also in the back-three, Rob Kearney has regained the fullback jersey from Geordan Murphy and Tommy Bowe starts. Brian O'Driscoll skippers the side and is joined in midfield by Gordon D'Arcy.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), S Cronin (Connacht), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), J Muldoon (Connacht), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: J Fogarty (Leinster), T Buckley (Munster), D Tuohy (Ulster), S Jennings (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester)
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports
Wales did the All Blacks a favour with their best effort against New Zealand for many years, for 68 minutes at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Craig Dowd writes
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection