Best fit to lead Ireland
March 7, 2012
Rory Best has been passed fit to lead Ireland © Getty Images
Ulster hooker Rory Best will captain Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations clash with Scotland, having overcome a rib injury to deputise for Paul O'Connell.
The 29-year-old will lead his country for the third time - after taking the armband against the USA and Canada in 2009 - after O'Connell was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a knee problem.
The lock's place in the side has been taken by his Munster team-mate Donnacha Ryan, with Connacht's Mike McCarthy stepping onto the bench.
"It's a great honour to be asked to captain the side. It's something you dream of doing," Best said. "It's very unfortunate that Paul's out but I'm honoured to do the job.
"We know we'll have to be on the money against Scotland. It will be a massive challenge for our defence."
Leinster's Eoin Reddan has been promoted to start at scrum-half following an injury to Conor Murray, with Tomas O'Leary returning to the international fray among the replacements.
Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien has also been named in the starting line-up despite some fears over his fitness, while Keith Earls and Donncha O'Callaghan will also be monitored after missing training with knocks following last weekend's draw with France.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), K Earls (Munster), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), D Ryan (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), T Court (Ulster), M McCarthy (Connacht), P O'Mahony (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery