Murray steps up for Ireland
September 8, 2011
Murray will make his full Test debut against the USA © Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has selected scrum-half Conor Murray for his full Test debut in thier opening Rugby World Cup clash against USA on Sunday.
The 22-year-old won two caps as a second-half substitute against France and England last month and will partner fly-half Jonathan Sexton at half-back with Eoin Reddan dropping to the bench.
Flanker Sean O'Brien and fullback Rob Kearney were not considered as they continue to recover from knee and groin injuries, meaning there are starts for Geordan Murphy and Shane Jennings. Although Kidney expects O'Brien and Kearney to return to action soon.
Gordon D'Arcy is restored at inside centre alongside Brian O'Driscoll having recovered from the calf injury which delayed his arrival in New Zealand. With Keith Earls moving on to the wing, Andrew Trimble has to make do with a place on the bench.
Flanker Todd Clever will lead an Eagles side that shows a number of changes to that which was beaten 20-14 by Japan in their final World Cup warm-up clash last month. Roland Suniula will make only his second start at fly-half and his brother Andrew links up with Paul Emerick in a new-look midfield.
There is also a return for winger Taku Ngwenya while up front Shawn Pittman comes in at loose-head, John van der Giessen gets the nod at lock and Nic Johnson anchors the back-row.
Ireland: G Murphy; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (c), G D'Arcy, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; T Court, R Best, M Ross, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, S Ferris, S Jennings, J Heaslip
Replacements: J Flannery, T Buckley, D Ryan, D Leamy, E Reddan, R O'Gara, A Trimble
USA: Blaine Scully; Takudzwa Ngwenya, Paul Emerick, Andrew Suniula, James Paterson; Roland Suniula, Mike Petri; Mike MacDonald, Phil Thiel, Shawn Pittman, John van der Giessen, Hayden Smith, Louis Stanfill, Todd Clever (c), Nic Johnson
Replacements: Chris Biller, Matekitonga Moeakiola, Scott LaValla, Pat Danahy, Tim Usasz, Nese Malifa, Colin Hawley
Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wal), Carlo Damasco (Ita)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside