Sexton beats O'Gara to Ireland start
March 16, 2011
Jonathan Sexton starts for Ireland © PA Photos
Jonathan Sexton has been given the nod at fly-half for Ireland's final Six Nations clash against Grand Slam-chasing England on Saturday.
The Leinster youngster endured a mixed showing against Wales last weekend but has beaten Ronan O'Gara to the No.10 jersey in a backline showing one further change and a positional switch from the controversial Cardiff defeat.
Keith Earls moves to fullback in place of Luke Fitzgerald, who misses out on the 22 altogether, while Ulster wing Andrew Trimble is recalled out wide as a result.
"If Luke has made any errors they're probably because he's trying too hard and he's been overstretching himself," Ireland coach Declan Kidney said. "Andrew has been knocking at the door for quite some time and has done well. Andrew was showing great form going into the Six Nations."
Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan has been named in the starting line-up despite suffering a concussion in the opening seconds last weekend, with Peter Stringer on the bench. Munster's Tomas O'Leary has been ruled out with an eye injury.
Ireland: K Earls (Munster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry