Ireland v Australia, Croke Park, November 15
Healy handed Ireland debut
November 11, 2009
Cian Healy will make his Ireland debut on Saturday © Getty Images
Leinster prop Cian Healy will make his Ireland debut against Australia on Sunday as the Six Nations champions look to derail Australia's Grand Slam bid at Croke Park.
Healy makes his bow following an injury to Marcus Horan and is joined in the front-row by Munster hooker Jerry Flannery, who has recovered from a calf injury to start, and John Hayes. Hayes has been named to start despite a recent five week ban for stamping on Healy during a Magners League showdown.
Leinster's talented fly-half Jonathan Sexton and Connacht hooker Sean Cronin are also in line for debuts off the bench. Brian O'Driscoll will play his 100th Test match, 94 for Ireland and six for the British & Irish Lions, and partners Ulster skipper Paddy Wallace in the centre.
There is no place in the 22 for O'Driscoll's Leinster team-mate Gordon D'Arcy, with Keith Earls providing midfield cover on the bench.
Ronan O'Gara and Tomas O'Leary are the all-Munster halfback pairing, while Tommy Bowe, Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney are the back-three after starting in the same formation for the Lions' second Test against South Africa.
The pack has a steady and experienced feel, with the second-row of Paul O'Connell and Donncha O'Callaghan packing down ahead of a back-row containing Stephen Ferris, David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (capt) (Leinster), P Wallace (Ulster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), J Flannery (Munster), J Hayes (Munster); D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster); S Ferris (Ulster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), K Earls (Munster).
"At full-time I could not see the field for people dancing in front of me." Tom Hamilton reflects on the Lions' defeat at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra
To coincide with the Lions' tour of Australia, and in association with Dove Men+Care, we are asking you to vote for the greatest Lions moments of the professional era
"He's full of empathy...he calms the water...he's the Brumbies' saviour," was how a taxi driver in Canberra described Jake White." Tom Hamilton files his latest Tour Diary
"I am not alone in believing this series could well be decided by who can steal most ball after the tackle." John Taylor previews the Lions' first Test showdown with Australia