Ulster dominate Ireland XV to face Fiji
November 15, 2012
Jamie Heaslip will skipper the Ireland XV against Fiji at © Getty Images
Ireland have retained just three players from the side that lost to South Africa last weekend for their match against Fiji at Thomond Park on Saturday.
No.8 Jamie Heaslip will start again at the back of the scrum and will once again captain the side while scrum-half Conor Murray and tight-head Mike Ross also keep their places. Coach Declan Kidney has also opted to blood three uncapped players although they will not be making their Test debuts as it is a non-cap fixture.
Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson get the nod at inside centre, wing and fly-half respectively and they are among six players from PRO12 leaders Ulster to be included. Elsewhere, Denis Hurley starts at fullback with Fergus McFadden and Darren Cave completing the backs. In the pack, David Kilcoyne, who won his first cap from the bench last weekend, starts at loose-head with Sean Cronin and Ross alongside him.
In the locks Donncha O'Callaghan and Dan Tuohy are partnered while Iain Henderson, John Muldoon and skipper Heaslip gets the nod in the back-row. Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton is named on the bench alongside Munster flyer Simon Zebo and Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall.
New Zealand-born prop Michael Bent, who made his Test debut against the Springboks despite arriving in Ireland only two weeks earlier, must settle for a place among the replacements after losing out to Ross. Ulster's Chris Henry is also included with Donnacha Ryan, Michael Bent, Cian Healy and Richardt Strauss completing the eight-man bench.
"We know it will be a difficult test and this is a vote of confidence for the players we've picked," coach Declan Kidney said. "We know they'll do a job and they've been training really well over the last two and a half weeks. We feel they deserve their go."
Ireland, who face Argentina in the climax to their autumn internationals on Saturday week, have won all three previous meetings with Fiji.
Ireland XV: Denis Hurley, Fergus McFadden, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray, David Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Donncha O'Callaghan, Dan Tuohy, Iain Henderson, John Muldoon, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Michael Bent, Donncha Ryan, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Jonathan Sexton, Simon Zebo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton