Sexton lines up against Fiji
November 17, 2009
Gordon D'Arcy returns to the Ireland side © Getty Images
Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton will make his Ireland debut against Fiji at the RDS on Saturday in one of eight changes from the side that scrapped to a 20-20 draw with Australia at Croke Park.
Sexton is joined in the starting line-up by his provincial skipper Leo Cullen, who will win his first cap since June 2007 in the second-row alongside Paul O'Connell, and scrum-half Eoin Reddan.
Veteran wing Shane Horgan also returns to the Test side after captaining Ireland 'A' to victory over Tonga last weekend and Keith Earls is handed a start on the opposite wing. Both players will want to impress following an unfortunate long-term injury to incumbent wing Luke Fitzgerald.
Tom Court replaces Cian Healy at loose-head as the Leinster prop has a shoulder injury. Denis Leamy starts on the openside in an otherwise unchanged back-row. Gordon D'Arcy starts alongside Brian O'Driscoll in the centre.
Fiji have called Gloucester flanker Apo Satala in to their side. Satala joins fellow Gloucester flanker Akapusi Qera in the back-row, behind London Welsh lock Wame Lewaravu. Saracens scrum-half Moses Rauluni starts in the No.9 jersey alongside Bath playmaker Nicky Little.
A classy centre combination brings Toulon's Gabriele Lovobalavu and Clermont Auvergne's Seremaia Bai together and Brive's Norman Ligairi is recalled at fullback. Ulster wing Timoci Nagusa is handed a place on the bench. There is no place for Scarlets prop Deacon Manu, with Viliame Seuseu, Viliame Veikoso and Asaike Tarogi forming a new front-row.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); S Horgan (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); T Court (Ulster), J Flannery (Munster), J Hayes (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), D Leamy (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster)
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Buckley (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster) S O'Brien (Leinster), T O'Leary (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster) A Trimble (Ulster)
Fiji: N Ligairi (Brive); V Goneva (Vaturu), G Lovobalavu (Toulon), S Baikeinuku (ASM Clermont), N Roko (Yokogawa); N Little (Bath), M Rauluni (Saracens); A Tarogi (Suva Highlanders), V Veikoso (Mavoci), V Seuseu (Korovuto), W Lewaravu (London Welsh), I Rawaqa (Fighting Bulls), A Satala (Gloucester), A Qera (Gloucester), A Boko (Tau)
Replacements: I Ledua (FTG), G Dewes (Esher), L Nakarawa (Army), S Bola (Police), W Vatuvoka (Duavata), J Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs), T Nagusa (Ulster).
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